Mavalela*, who refused to provide her name fearing stigma, has a child at Makaula Secondary School in KwaBhaca. She said that despite calls from the mayor, she won’t be sending her child back to a “place of death“. Mavalela added that her child, who hasn’t showed any symptoms yet, is staying with her in a rented flat in Flagstaff. She didn’t confirm nor deny whether her child had tested positive for Covid-19.
Possible isolation site
In a statement issued by the Department of Health, 204 learners and hostel assistants have tested positive for Covid-19 at Makaula Secondary School. A team of doctors and tracers have been deployed to the school.
The department is also looking into possibly converting the premises into an isolation facility with experts sent to the school to ascertain if it meets the minimum standards for quarantine and isolation, which includes, but is not limited to lighting, well ventilated rooms, and sanitation services.
Wait for summer
Meanwhile, Loyiso Mbinda from the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, said they suggested that schools be opened during the warm season as the virus thrives in cold weather.
“We are not against the re-opening of schools but this is not the right time. We are all aware that the winter season is very cold in the Eastern Cape and health experts warned that the virus increases during cold seasons hence we suggested to the government that schools should be re-opened in summer when it’s warm. Unfortunately our plea landed on deaf ears.”
Mbinda said they even suggested that the academic year end in March 2021.
Alfred Nzo district municipality mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu urged all parents to return their children who have left the school amid the Covid-19 outbreak. According to Mehlomakhulu, 235 learners have been tested of which 194 are positive, while the remainder await results.
Some of the learners who left the school are among those who are awaiting results and the mayor had explained that they need to return to site in order to receive counselling and be quarantined.
“We do have isolation and quarantine facilities across the district, as [per] the Joint Command Council, working with the Department of Health and Department of Public Works in order to hold all confirmed cases to ensure immediate control of the spread,” Mehlomakhulu said. – Health-e News
*Not her real name
For more information on Covid-19 in South Africa, you can call the toll-free line on 0800 029 999, or you can send a message that says “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number 060 012 3456. You can also visit the SA Coronavirus website.
Pictures supplied – Alfred Nzo district municipality mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu at Makaula Secondary School.