More teachers test positive as schools reopen

indafrica June 11, 2020
Updated 2020/06/11 at 10:06 AM

AT LEAST two more KwaZulu-Natal schools confirmed Wednesday that learning would be stopped and the schools temporarily closed after teachers tested positive.

Savannah Park Secondary School in Chatsworth issued a letter asking parents to keep their children at home until further notice.

“I was informed that an educator on our staff has tested positive for Covid-19. The said educator was absent from school on Monday and she was never in contact with learners,” the letter said.

Another school, Deccan Road Primary School in Pietermaritzburg, also had to close the school after a teacher tested positive.

The school’s acting principal said all teaching, non-teaching and cleaning staff have been tested by officials from the Department of Health.

“We have received official notice to close the school for all staff members to be self-isolated for the next 14 days. All learners who attended school on Monday, 8 June, should be closed monitored.

“Should any learner who attended school on this day present any signs or symptoms of Covid-19, the parent can contact the School Governing Body who will then inform the Department of Health,” the acting principal said.

Parents were also advised that they can have their children tested privately, however the school must be notified of the child’s results.

On Tuesday, Clairwood Secondary School and Apollo Secondary School issued letters to parents about the schools’ temporary closures after a teacher, at each secondary school, tested positive for Covid-19.

Spokesperson for the Department of Education in KZN, Kwazi Mthethwa, said they are working with the Department of Health to handle such cases.

“Safety is our main priority and is a non negotiable. They have a specific protocol which they follow in cases like these. We are satisfied with the manner in which schools have and continue to adhere to precautionary health regulations. Any cases whether confirmed or not confirmed shall be referred to the Department of Health for proper processing,” Mthethwa said.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has said Covid-19 testing and screening in schools in hotspot areas will be intensified.

“The Executive Council requested the Department of Health to prioritise testing in these hotspot areas in order mitigate the risk of infections,” Zikalala said.

He was speaking during a meeting of the KZN EXCO held on Wednesday.
Zikalala said they have noted that some schools have had to be temporarily closed after Covid-19 cases were reported.

“We are concerned about an increase in the rate of infections since the transition to risk adjusted Level 3. Equally, the EXCO is encouraged by the increasing number of recoveries.

We reiterate our commitment that there will be no compromise on the life and safety of teachers, leaners and school management teams,” he said.

Zikalala said guidelines have been put in place and rapid response mechanisms in place for quick intervention should cases be reported.

“The Provincial Executive Council continues to appeal to citizens to wear face masks in public and exercise social distancing, as well as intensify good hygiene practices,” he said. – IOL

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