School closed as pupils become ill

Breathing troubles experienced by hundreds of pupils at a northern KwaZuluNatal public school has prompted the provincial department of education to temporarily close down the school.

Breathing troubles experienced by hundreds of pupils at a northern KwaZuluNatal public school has prompted the provincial department of education to temporarily close down the school.

Department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi said yesterday that the closure of Gingindlovu Primary School followed a series of incidents in which pupils and teachers complained about having breathing difficulties, abdominal pains and restlessness since last Friday.

"The affected pupils were promptly given the required medical attention," Thusi said in a statement.

She confirmed that one pupil was airlifted to Ngwelezane Hospital and others were taken to Eshowe Hospital.

On Monday pupils and teachers were sent home since more of them complained of the same symptoms.

The department of health and the department of education were alerted to the incident on Tuesday and subsequently closed the school the same day.

"An inspection was carried out and all classes have been disinfected and thoroughly cleaned," Thusi said.

She said the school would remain closed until the necessary tests had been concluded to pinpoint the problem.

"A recovery plan is being devised to make up for the time lost during this temporary closure," Thusi said.

"We are relying on health officials to really assist us in getting to the bottom of the problem. At this point our priority is to ensure the safety of both pupils and teachers". - Sapa

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