Parents devastated over Covid-19 cases in EC school

Mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu at Makaula Secondary School:Cred(Alfred Nzo Municiplaity)
Written by Zizo Zikali

Over 200 positive Covid-19 cases have been identified in a boarding school in the Eastern Cape, much to the worry of parents whose children attend the school.  

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 deathMavalela 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  

MeanwhileLoyiso 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. 

Come back  

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 positivewhile 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 

About the author

Zizo Zikali

Zizo Zikali is our Eastern Cape based citizen journalist who also heads news at Inkonjane Community Radio in Flagstaff. Under her leadership, the news team is receiving recognition from local government and is the defending champion for Alfred Nzo District Municipality Annual Award for Best Innovative Current Affairs Programme. Zizo has over six years experience in community media and worked for organisations such as Voice of Tembisa FM from 2011-2014 and Inkonjane community Radio since 2014. Her educational qualifications include an Advanced Radio Certificate from University of the Witwatersrand obtained in 2016 and a Human Resources Management qualification from the Durban University of Technology obtained in 2008.