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Zimbabwe to Reopen Schools September 14 for Students Taking Final Exams

FILE: Zimbabwean children sit in a classroom at a school in Norton, 55 kms west of Harare, on January 28, 2009

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will reopen primary and secondary schools this month for students preparing to sit their final exams, six months after they were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government said on Tuesday.

The first students to return, on Sept. 14, will be those taking Cambridge International exams. Those taking locally administered final exams will go back two weeks later.

"The ministry (of education) is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to guarantee the safety of pupils and staff during the examinations period," the government said.

The education ministry had previously said it would give priority to pupils taking final exams and has hinted that other students will not return to school until 2021.

Zimbabwe has recorded about 6,500 cases of COVID-19 and 202 deaths. Despite an increase in infections in the past six weeks, most cases were mild to moderate, with a recovery rate of about 80%, the government said.

Authorities are also looking at reopening airports to support the tourism sector, the government said. The plan is to start with the resumption of domestic flights and then to restart international flights, it added, but did not give a date. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe)