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All Schools to Remain Closed Due to Cholera Outbreak

The Ministry of Education in the Republic of Zambia has officially announced the postponement of the opening of schools for Term One 2024, in response to the escalating cholera outbreak across the nation. 

The decision was made following a press statement from the Minister of Health on December 14th, 2023, highlighting the surge in cholera cases and related fatalities, initially reported in the Eastern Province and now spreading to various parts of the country.

Despite recognizing the detrimental impact of pandemics on the education sector, the government has prioritized the safety of school communities by implementing measures to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease.

In a meeting held on January 3rd, 2024, Education Minister Hon. Douglas Syakalima announced the closure of all public, private, aided, and community learning institutions. The new official opening date for schools is now set for Monday, January 29th, 2024, three weeks later than the initially scheduled date of January 8th, 2024.

To make up for the lost time, the first term holidays will be shortened to only one week instead of the usual four. Consequently, schools will close for Term One on April 26th, 2024, instead of April 5th, 2024, and are scheduled to reopen for Term Two on May 6th, 2024.

The Ministry of Education is advising parents and guardians to prepare their children for Term Two even before the conclusion of Term One, considering the shortened holiday period. 

During the extended closure, all learning institutions are mandated to undergo thorough cleaning, ensure access to clean water and sanitation facilities, provide adequate handwashing points, and strictly adhere to preventive guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

In addition, school inspections and sensitization efforts will be intensified at all levels to ensure strict compliance with the provided guidelines.

To keep learners engaged during the extended closure, the Ministry encourages parents and guardians to utilize alternative modes of learning provided by the Ministry. These include the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television on Edu TV channel, the internet-based platform on LearningPassport, and NotesMaster.

The Ministry underscores a cautious approach to reopening schools and calls for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure the safety and readiness of educational institutions.

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