OFM News reported that in a letter addressed to parents, dated Tuesday, headmaster Deon Scheepers reveals that a grade 12 learner from Bloemfontein has tested positive for COVID-19. The Free State Health Department has advised the school leadership to halt schooling for the remainder of the week, so that the mandatory decontamination process can take place.
The announcement means that all learners will be required to remain off the school premises for that time frame. This includes boarders, whose parents must now make alternative arrangements.
This response is in stark contrast to the one in early June, when the school reported its first case, but did not shut down the entire school, only the affected boys hostel. Scheepers tells parents in the letter, that teaching and learning will resume on Monday – 20 July 2020 – for grades 11 and 12. They will be joined on Tuesday by the grade 10 class.
Following OFM News’ query, Free State Education Department spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, says they are looking into the matter.
The disruption comes as another boys school in Bloemfontein – St Andrew’s boys school – just reopened its high school block following a break last week due to a positive COVID-19 case. Nearly a week ago, Saints, headmaster, Christopher Thomas, told parents via a virtual meeting on Zoom, that he had been informed a grade 11 learner who hadn’t attended school for a number of days, was COVID-19 positive. The learner in question had been exhibiting symptoms when his mother took him for testing.
The school management tracked which classes the learner had been in during the previous weeks of school and decided to temporarily halt learning for three days so that the block can be decontaminated and cleaned. The suspension of schooling affected grades 7, 10, 11 and 12.
The Free State now has 4 851 active coronavirus cases and 35 confirmed deaths thus far. Mangaung Metro under which Bloemfontein falls, remains the epicentre of the virus in theFree State.