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Parents Express Fear After Second Recorded Case Of Covid-19 Emerges In Durban Primary School

The parents of Penzance Primary School pupils in Durban have expressed worry over the safety of their children after a second Covid-19 case was confirmed at the school this month.
In a statement issued by the school on July 4, principal Hennie Havemann confirmed that a pupil had tested ­positive.

The school, which uses a Pod system where children are taught in groups, shut down the “pod bubble” and two weeks of quarantine was implemented for those in that particular Pod while the rest of the school returned on July 6.

Yesterday, the school issued another statement confirming that a Grade 5 pupil had tested positive.

Havemann said the pupil’s father experienced symptoms over the weekend and the school was informed immediately.

“The learner went for a test due to close contact with her father, which, unfortunately, came back as positive for Covid-19.”

The principal said the family were under strict isolation and were in ­contact with the school.

He said the relevant officials from the Department of Health were notified, and the school was following the guidelines directly from the Department of Education’s standard operating procedures document.

Deep-cleaning of the school had been done and the Pod would be closed for the next 14 days as a precautionary measure, said Havemann.

“The Grade 5L Pod will return to Penzance on July 28. Due to our Pod/Bubble system, the rest of the school are unaffected by this and will continue as normal.”

According to the school, a three-phase cleaning and decontamination process was followed daily to ensure the entire school was clean and sanitised for pupils and staff.

A parent of one of the pupils asked at what point she would stop sending her child to school: “When it’s too late?”

She said the children could carry the virus home from school.

She said Penzance were doing the best they could, although she pointed out that her husband had seen “some of the staff don’t wear masks, only shields”.

She felt the school should offer to send work home for those unable to return to school, or too afraid to return. “It would be less stressful for some of the parents.”

Another parent said she was opting to remove her child from school. “He is having panic attacks having to wear a mask, and he is not doing well being back at school. It’s not fair on him,” she said.

Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the school was in possession of Circular 57, which offers guidelines of how the school should deal with Covid-19.

“It’s very detailed as to what the school needs to do when a case has been reported,” Mahlambi said.


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