A Katutura school, llGaroeb Primary School, still remains open due to government’s bureaucratic processes despite a teacher having tested positive for COVID-19. This risks the health and lives of learners, teachers and their immediate families.
Information gleaned by the Windhoek Observer reveals that a school teacher who had been ill after developing COVID-19 symptoms came to the school on Tuesday to sign her leave form.
“She came to the school on Tuesday to fill in her sick leave application form, after the principal called her in to do so. Before that, she was coming to the school the entire time except for Monday when she was too ill to come. She was admitted in hospital on Tuesday and swabbed for COVID-19 and her nurse gave her the news that she is positive,” a teacher at the school to choose to remain anonymous said.
After receiving the news, the teacher is said to have informed the school principal, Judith Sepiso at 9pm on Wednesday, who in turn informed the rest of the staff, resulting to money being collected to buy her flowers.
According to the anonymous source, the positive case was confirmed to the School Inspector who in turn ordered the school not to close as only the Health ministry had the sole authority to do so. This could happen once the doctor has seen the patient and the teacher’s name was given to the Ministry.
Despite the potential exposure to COVID-19, the school principal, Sepiso, who also came into contact with the teacher, maintains teachers and learners should continue coming to school as they await word from the Health Ministry.
“We cannot disclose that information because the result has not been officially confirmed. We are open and students are attending classes. We cannot close the school because we have not yet received the official results and we have to wait on the ministry for those instructions,” the school principal said.
Teachers at the school are said to be uneasy about continuing face-to-face classes due to developments at the school, which is still to be disinfected since the incident.
When contacted for comment, Health Ministry Executive Director, Ben Nangombe told Windhoek Observer that he was aware of the case.
“Has the school contacted us? No, they have not, so I don’t understand why they are waiting for the Ministry in order to close down? We are not the ones that give instructions to schools,” he said.
This comes as several schools in Khomas according to media reports were suspended by the Ministry of Education after some learners become contacts of confirmed cases.
The schools that were closed to allow disinfection at the premises are Steenkamp Primary School, Suiderhof Primary School, Mount View High School, Dr Frans Aupa Indongo Primary School, Cosmos High School and Green Leaves Primary School.
Khomas region currently has the second highest number of COVID-19 positive cases at 88 as of Wednesday, mostly community transmission.