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Another NC school closed, parents feel ‘left in the dark’

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De Aar school closed after teacher tests positive, parents question how children should self-isolate

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WHILE another school in the Northern Cape has been closed after a teacher tested positive for Covid-19, the parents of pupils at Veritas High School in De Aar indicated that they have been left in the dark on how to ensure that their teenage children self-isolate.

According to the parents, the school was closed on Friday after a teacher tested positive for Covid-19.

A parent of a matric pupil at the school said his child was sent home with a letter stating that the school had been closed until further notice.

“We received letters stating that the children had been sent home as one teacher had tested positive for the coronavirus. We were informed in the letter that the children had been tested and that they had to self-isolate at home until their test results came back. I was shocked as nowhere did it state how the children were supposed to self-isolate or how parents can assist them in this regard,” said the parent on Monday.

He pointed out that these were teenagers, many of whom had little knowledge about the effects and dangers of the coronavirus.

“As parents, many of us are also not that well-informed about the virus or what to do if someone in the household tests positive,” he added.

Another parent said she felt disappointed that the children were merely sent home.

“What the Department of Education failed to take into consideration was the background of the children. Some of the families live in one-roomed homes and the children do not have their own rooms or the space to self-isolate away from the rest of the family. The family members of those children who cannot self-isolate are then also at risk of contracting the virus. Many people have extended families with older family members living in the same household. Nobody from the Department of Health or the Education Department informed us, as parents or guardians, on how to handle this situation,” she said.

The provincial spokesperson for the Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said the school was closed on Friday to ensure the safety of the matric pupils.

Van der Merwe said the Department of Health would advise them on when the school could reopen.

“Depending on the results received from contact tracers, the Department of Health will give an indication on whether the school should remain closed or open again.”

He urged pupils and parents to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations while at home.

“Pupils, educators and parents must adhere to the guidelines of Covid-19 that include washing their hands, wearing masks and ensuring they sanitise surfaces regularly. If they adhere to these guidelines they will assist in preventing the spread of Covid-19.”

Van der Merwe said, meanwhile, that the Department of Education was currently looking at reopening some of the six schools in the Province that were also closed last week.

“We are preparing to open Zingisani Primary in the Pixley ka Seme District soon. We are just awaiting a report from the district office,” said Van der Merwe.

The other schools that were closed are Carnarvon Primary School, Enoch Mthetho High School, Ikhwezi Lokusa Primary School, Philipstown High School and Beacon Primary School.

The department said at the time that although six schools had been affected, this did not reflect a breakout of Covid-19 infections, but rather individual cases that were reported.