MALAWI. Lilongwe: Schools are set to reopen in Malawi next week on February 22, amid threats by some individual teachers to lay down their tools in protest over lack of COVID-19 risk allowances.
The Malawian Minister for Education, Agnes NyaLonje announced the schools re-opening date during a media briefing on February 17 in the capital, Lilongwe.
The decision to re-open schools comes after the southern African country had experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
A sum of $6 million has been set aside to improve sanitation and enhance other COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Most schools in Malawi are over-crowded and lack adequate sanitation facilities such as toilets and handwashing points.
The suspension of schools earlier in the year by President Lazarus Chakwera had caused discontent by student groups. Some had conducted street protests asking for the opening of their educational institutions.
Students returning to boarding schools will be subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test, as school gatherings are feared to be super spreaders of the virus.
A Catholic girls’ secondary school, Lilongwe Girls’, that is situated along the main road that connects the capital city to Blantyre had more than 60 percent of those tested found positive for COVID-19.
Although some segments of individual teachers have threatened that they will be boycotting their work, the official Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), says it has advised its members to go back to work and “pursue negotiations later”.
As of February 17, there were 8 new deaths and 213 new CODID-19 deaths in Malawi.