Decisions on Covid-19 cases in FS schools ‘led by health experts’

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Spokesperson of the Free State Department of Education, Howard Ndaba

The Department of Education in the Free State says decisions regarding schools with positive cases of Covid-19 are not been taken by the department alone, but with the help of health experts.

This comes after teachers and learners at several Free State schools tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks and parents subsequently expressed their dissatisfaction with the way in which the Department of Education has handled the different scenarios.

The department spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, told Bloemfontein Courant decisions made on how long a certain school will be closed, which areas will be decontaminated and who should be quarantined, are made by health experts. The Head of Department is then advised on a way forward for that specific school.

Ndaba said that no principal has the power to decide if their school should be closed or not. He also said that when there is a confirmed case at a school, it is not to say that the entire school will be shut down, but rather the areas where that individual was traced to.

He explained that once a case has been confirmed, the Department of Health traces close and casual contacts, as well as the areas where the individual had been.

Ndaba said the anxiety among parents is understandable but he wants to reassure parents that the necessary measures are in place to protect learners and staff. “Parents also have the option to keep their children at home and make use of home schooling. They will not be victimized for this.”

Sazly Hartzenberg

sazly@centralmediagroup.co.za