Two teachers test positive for Covid-19 in Durban

an empty classroom

Parents were advised to keep their children at home as teachers undergo Covid-19 testing on Tuesday. Photo by Mwesigwa Joel/Unsplash

A Chatsworth high school closed its gates and sent its matriculants home after a teacher tested positive for Covid-19.

The Apollo Secondary School teacher was not at school on Monday, when it opened to receive matrics, however, parents were advised to keep their children at home as teachers undergo Covid-19 testing on Tuesday. 

According to a letter from the school governing chairperson, R Hirchan, to parents and the school community, everything went well on the first day back with all pupils conforming to the Covid-19 safety regulations and social distancing.

“Unfortunately, one of the educators (who DID NOT report to school today [Monday]) has tested positive for Covid-19,” he said.

“The said educator was in school till Thursday, when she fell ill at home in the evening. On reporting to school last week, the educator was mostly confined to the staff room, and admin areas that are thoroughly sanitised and cleaned on a daily basis,” he said.

Hirchan said the relevant officials in the education and health departments were notified and, with guidance from the education department, all academic activity will discontinue until further notice.

KZN Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi said his department had been made aware of the situation and that he could not comment as protocol around Covid-19 prevented this as it is a health matter.

Another school in Durban closed its doors after one of its teachers tested positive as well. In a school letter addressed by the principal of Clairwood Secondary School, Y Naidoo to parents, the teacher reported to school last week and was in contact with other teachers but never had contact with any learners.

“After a visit to his doctor over the weekend, the teacher received his results reflecting he tested positive. The departments of education and health were immediately contacted and a directive from the health department instructed me to open school to learners and teachers, to allow for screenings and tests,” said Naidoo.

After the screening process learners were dismissed and the school is closed until further notice.

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said principals have been trained to deal with such cases and know what protocols to follow should teachers or learners test positive.

“Teachers and learners must go into self-isolation for 14 days. The school must be disinfected. The teachers are given quarantine leave which they will have to utilise. This is going to set schools back and Naptosa advises that schools have contingency plans in place for learners to continue learning under these circumstances so that learning can continue,” said Thirona Moodley, Naptosa KZN spokesperson.

Schools across the country opened to Grade 7s and 12s on Monday after two months of lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.