Saturday, 19 December 2020

POSITIVE PUPILS TO ISOLATE AT SCHOOLS OVER CHRISTMAS

SCHOOL children and teachers who tested positive for Covid-19 during the just ended third term and had not recovered by the time schools closed on Friday are likely to spend Christmas in isolation at their schools until they are cleared by health officials, Sunday News can reveal.

This comes as the Roman Catholic-run Minda Girls High at Maphisa Growth Point in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province is the latest school to report multiple cases, after 20 pupils tested positive for the pandemic with the school directing that learners who test positive will remain at the school beyond the closing date.

Schools closed for the third term last Friday and while some parents were uniting with their children and getting prepared for the festive season, pupils who are still positive were told to remain isolated at the learning institutions, especially boarding schools.

To date the country’s schools have recorded 558 Covid-19 cases with the hardest hit being John Tallach High in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North Province where more than 180 cases were reported.

However, most of the school pupils have recovered. in an interview with Sunday News, director of communications in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said those who tested positive will remain at their schools or at home as per the direction of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

“Those who tested positive and still on mandatory isolation will remain under the direction of the Ministry of Health and Child Care until cleared. This may be at the school or at their homes depending on the Ministry of Health (and Child Care)’s direction,” said Mr Ndoro.

He said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has already put in place mechanisms to cater for those that tested positive noting that their aim was not to expose the community and contain the spread of the pandemic.

“In all this, we are closely working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care authorities and they have been giving us the much required guidance to help contain the spread of the pandemic within our schools.

“It is important to note that there are set protocols to follow when someone tests positive for the pandemic and their implementation is guided by health officials and one of these is the issue of isolation from society,” said Mr Ndoro.

At Minda High School authorities have revealed that pupils who tested positive will stay at the school for a further week, which was when their mandatory isolation period is expected to end.

In a message sent to parents on Friday, the school’s head, Mr Norcan Nyamambi, said they were working with health authorities to contain the pandemic and also ensure the affected pupils remained on quarantine.

“We shall continue to give you updates as we get full guidance from the relevant authorities. Parents and guardians of affected learners will be contacted individually,” reads part of the message.

Last Tuesday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, revealed that Government was putting in place mechanisms at schools ahead of the festive season break.

The minister was speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing. “The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Child Care continue to strengthen infection, prevention and control strategies in schools as they prepare to break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. “Cumulatively, 558 cases have been reported at learning institutions across the country,” she said. Sunday News

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