RUNDU – Education authorities in Kavango East maintained there is no need to temporarily close a Divundu school, where 14 learners tested positive for Covid-19 this week.
Despite confirmation of the new infections on Monday, classes continued uninterrupted at Martin Ndumba Secondary School. A teacher told New Era the school was overcrowded, and that made it difficult for learners to maintain social distancing. The teacher, who requested anonymity, said more than ten learners were sharing a hostel room, instead of a more manageable six.
“We have eight rooms for male and eight for females – and in those rooms, there are about 12 to 14 learners, instead of six,” said the teacher. According to the teacher, hostel boarders have been placed on self-isolation until further notice but day scholars who recently attended classes with the positive learners are still attending school, sparking fear they may have been exposed.
The school has a learner population of more than 800, with the majority being day scholars.“When health officials from Andara district hospital visited the school, they told us that they didn’t have the capacity to do mass testing but the school was advised to close down and put learners and teachers in self-isolation, but the director refused to close it down. Imagine, these 14 learners were tested here and results came out positive,” the teacher said.
Approached for comment, Kavango East education director said he is aware of the situation at the school, adding the directorate did not see the need to temporarily close the school. “We do not want to cause panic amongst learners. Our advice is for those learners to be isolated there in the hostel, instead of closing the whole school,” Kapapero said. “We want to monitor the situation at least this week before we make that drastic decision.”
Meanwhile, in Kavango West, the education directorate has temporarily closed a Nankudu school, where 15 learners tested positive for Covid-19.
Face-to-face schooling at Kandjimi Murangi Secondary School came to a halt last week following the positive infections. The learners tested positive on 6 February.
The school has day scholars and hostel boarders. Education director Teopolina Hamutumua confirmed yesterday that affected learners were placed in isolation to curb the spread of the virus.
“Fifteen learners tested positive for Covid-19 at the school. Health officials were at the school to test some more learners who are showing some symptoms,” the director said. “The school has been on lockdown since Monday; we can’t allow day scholars to come to school – because, if they come, they will pick up the virus and spread it in the community,” she noted.
Hamutumua added hostel boarders have been isolated in two groups. “Those who have tested positive are in a separate group and those who have symptoms and waiting for their results have also been put in a separate area to have their own facilities like bathrooms and so on,” Hamutumua said.
Hamutumua said the directorate, along with hostel and health officials, are going to have a meeting to devise strategies on the way forward.
“I don’t know what the meeting will decide but those are the arrangements in place,” she said.