MOSSELBAAI NUUS - Die Departement van onderwys het bevestig dat Erika Primêre Skool die nodige prosedures volg nadat ‘n leerder positief getoets het vir Covid-19.
Die Mossel Bay Advertiser het navrae aan die departement gerig nadat ‘n beroep in ‘n WhatsApp boodskap aan ouers en leerders gedoen is om “die kinders van Erika skool te red,” en om vanoggend by die skool bymekaar te kom.
Departement woordvoerder, Bronagh Hammond sê die skool is nie gesluit nie en dat ‘n gedeelte van die skool afgebaken is om gedisinfekteer te word. Hammond het die volgende kommentaar gestuur:
“The school has had a confirmed learner case. The school is following the necessary procedures. The school has not been closed. Part of the school has been cordoned off and decontamination will take place in that area. Whenever a confirmed case of Covid-19 is reported at a school, a detailed protocol must be followed – this is available on the WCED website (Guideline L – Managing Covid-19 cases in schools).
When to close
A confirmed case does not necessarily require a school to be closed. In each case, a number of factors will be considered in making the decision. Firstly, the areas where the staff member/learner has physically been present need to be disinfected. For example, if a staff member has only been in one or two rooms, it is possible for schooling to continue by cordoning off and sanitising those rooms.
On the other hand, if the staff member has been all over the school, more areas will need to be sanitised which may require a temporary closure. Secondly, the date that the staff member/learner was last present in the school is important.
The NICD and Department of Health have told us that the virus does not survive on surfaces for more than 72 hours. If a staff member was last present at a school more than a week before, sanitising a surface is not required. Finally, the number of direct contacts must also be considered. We must clearly distinguish between direct (close) contact, and casual contact.
Direct contact involves being very close to someone physically, or giving a hug or a handshake. It is important that we keep direct contact to a minimum as required by physical distancing protocols. Only the direct contacts of a confirmed case need to isolate for up to 14 days from the date of last contact.
Just being in the same room as a confirmed case, when maintaining the 1.5m physical distancing requirement, is considered casual contact. Casual contacts do not need to isolate, but they should be monitored for any symptoms of Covid-19.
If only a handful of staff members at a school need to isolate, it would not be necessary to close a school. If a large number of staff members are required to isolate, this may impact on the ability of a school to continue teaching and supervision. If this does happen, permission must be granted by the Head of Department to close the school.
Thus, the circumstances of each positive case will determine whether the school needs to close. It is not an automatic decision. It also requires permission from the Head of Department. We have asked principals to ensure that they communicate clearly to their staff and parents of learners if there is a case in the school, the procedures going forward and what has been done to ensure safety.”
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