More Durban schools exercise caution over coronavirus links

Two Durban schools have informed parents that pupils have either had contact with a person carrying the coronavirus or travelled to a high-risk country.
Two Durban schools have informed parents that pupils have either had contact with a person carrying the coronavirus or travelled to a high-risk country.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN

KwaZulu-Natal schools are taking precautions with pupils who have had contact with people who have tested positive for the coronavirus or who have travelled internationally to destinations with high infection rates.

Westville Boy's High School principal Graham Steele informed parents on Tuesday that they had been informed that one of their pupils shared the same flight as the Hilton man who was SA's first confirmed coronavirus case.

“As the Covid-19 virus spreads across the world and most recently very close to home, it is important that we take steps to be ready for the spread of the virus in our own community without causing panic and ensuring that factual information is being shared,” he said.

“With this in mind, I am obligated to share information that came to light yesterday [Tuesday]. One of our boys was on the same flight as patient zero. He has been isolated and has thus far tested negative for the Covid-19 virus.”

Steele said the school programme would continue until he received a directive to the contrary from the provincial department of education.

Meanwhile, Orient Islamic School in Greyville alerted parents that one of their pupils travelled to a country affected by the virus and returned on Friday.

Executive headmaster Ebrahim Ansur said the school learnt that the pupil had travelled to a destination in Europe with his parents and was due to return on Monday.

“As several European countries have reported cases of coronavirus, the parents of the learner were notified that he should only return to school after the minimum isolation period of 14 days and subject to clearance from a doctor,” he said.

Ansur said in addition, five other pupils who had come into contact with the pupil were also asked to be sent home and monitored for 48 hours.

He said while all the pupils, including the one who travelled, were asymptomatic, these measures were taken in keeping with protocols prescribed by the national department of health to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.

Provincial department of education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said: “Our position is that we are treating each case as it is reported to us, in collaboration with the department of health. The health department is the lead department when it comes to anything that has to do with the virus. They have the protocols that are followed.

“We encourage our schools to report these matters to us before they take decisions to close schools or disclose the names of the learners.”


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