Thursday, 12 November 2020

COVID-19 : COLLEGES SUSPEND LECTURES

THE Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic in Gwanda and Kwekwe Polytechnic colleges have indefinitely suspended face-to-face lectures after students tested positive for Covid-19 at the institutions.

By yesterday, six cases had been recorded in Gwanda and four in Kwekwe. The colleges advised students not to attend lectures until further notice. JMN Poly Principal Dr Ngoni Moyo said the institution would await clearance from the Provincial Covid-19 Committee to resume lessons.

“We have suspended lectures until further notice to give room to testing and screening following cases of Covid-19 recorded at the institution.

“The Provincial Covid Committee is yet to give us the green light on when to resume lessons. The committee is yet to give us feedback on the total number of positive cases.

“As an institution we have done our own fumigation exercise but we are waiting for the Ministry of Health (and Child Care) to conduct their own.

“While face to face lectures are suspended, we will be conducting online lessons. Heads of various divisions have been instructed to come up with plans for their academic work,” she said.

According to a report from the Gwanda District Committee on Covid-19 dated November 11, three people have been admitted to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital isolation centre.

“. . . case is of a lecturer from JM Polytechnic College. A total of 79 contacts who comprise staff members and lecturers were traced, screened and tested at the JM Polytechnic College new and old campuses on Monday.

“Five were positive and 21 read errors and the tests will be redone. The other case is of a worker from Innscor Gwanda who was confirmed positive today on 11 November. Efforts are being made by the company to test all the contacts to the case by the company through the private sector,” read the report.

The report further stated that investigations into the JMN Poly and Innscor cases were still underway. There was an increase of cases in the district from 47 to 58 cases within one week.

“There is an indication of the possible emergence of Covid-19 transmission pockets or hotspots in Gwanda Urban.

“There is need for enhanced public awareness campaigns. There is also need for close monitoring of all public premises in town,” read the report.

Meanwhile, Kwekwe District Administrator, who is also the District Committee on Covid-19 chairperson, Mr Fortune Mpungu told a meeting on Wednesday that lectures had been suspended pending corrective measures and fumigation processes.

“I can confirm that there are four confirmed cases at Kwekwe Poly, one of which was confirmed at Kwekwe General Hospital and the other three were contacts. Our medical team is on the ground and continues with the contact tracing to find out if there were no other people who contracted the virus,” said Mr Mpungu.

He said those diagnosed have since been put on self-isolation and are being monitored by the district taskforce team.

 Lectures had to be put on hold to allow the disinfection process to go on unhindered.

“We have advised the institution to temporarily suspend lectures to allow for the disinfection process to go on smoothly while we also monitor whether it is feasible to continue with face to face lectures. We will continue monitoring the situation and advise as we proceed,” he said.

Lectures are expected to commence on Monday. He said the college has also been advised to step up measures for the control and containment of Covid-19 like maintaining social distances, putting on face masks, temperature checking for every student and staffers as well as increasing more water points for handwashing. Chronicle

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