COVID-19 is starting to increase in schools with the Health and Social Services Ministry (MOHSS) announcing 288 leaners and eight teachers have been infected with the virus since Monday.
This is despite assurances by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture in January that 90 percent of schools in the country were ready to re-open and receive students. Among the new confirmed cases, the Ekule Senior Secondary School in the Omuthiya District has recorded the highest Covid-19 cases with up to 101 learners testing positive.
The Oshikoto Region as a whole has a total of 112 positive learners, followed by the Kavango East with 25 positive cases. “Immediate action is taken in terms of isolating the learners, as well as immediate contact tracing of those that were in close contacts for more than 15 minutes ,” Ministry of Education Executive Director, Sanet Steenkamp told Windhoek Observer
The Executive Director said that in instances like these, schools are not entirely closed but the area of infection is closed down. “On safety, the disinfection of school continues, many schools disinfect for 48 hours and continue teaching, especially in grades where there was no contact and or infected cases. “
Steenkamp stressed the importance of making sure all protocols are followed by everybody and that if the individual learners and teachers are sick, they should seek medical assistance and not attend school.
On Wednesday 17 February, the Health ministry confirmed that 12 learners tested positive for COVID-19, among them, two each from Himarwa Iithete Senior Secondary School (SSS) and Uukule Senior SSS and Gabriel Taapopi SSS.
Three teachers from different schools and five healthcare workers also tested positive. On Saturday, 13 February, Minister of Health, Kalumbi Shangula warned learners who have been feeling ill to rather stay home and seek medical attention.
“Since the schools re-opened towards the end of January this year, we have been reporting increasing cases of COVID-19 infection among school going children. Usually, the virus causes a milder illness in children, though some have become sick.”
“If your child doesn’t feel well, let him/her stay at home, call your doctor or go to the nearest health facility. The doctor can decide whether your child can be treated at home or should be admitted to the hospital.”
The country has thus far recorded 36 440 cases and 394 deaths.