Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
SOME teachers at Fatima High School in Lupane district reportedly refused to be tested for Covid-19 following an outbreak of the virus at the school over the weekend that has seen the number of positive cases rising from six to 131.
Medical authorities said the outbreak was institutional, not coming from outside and they have since quarantined the school to make sure no one comes in or goes out until the situation is back to normal.
“We conducted a screening exercise at the institution which was over three days due to other school activities which prevented us from conducting the exercise in one day. Everyone was screened except some teachers who refused to be tested. Our observations were that this is an institutional outbreak and as such we decided to quarantine the institution from interacting with the outside world.
“We hope within the next two weeks the situation would have normalised and we also hope that the school authorities will make sure the measurers we gave them as part of containing this outbreak will be religiously followed,” said the Lupane District Medical Officer, Dr George Mutizira.
The school headmaster, a Mr Moyo, however, is said to have attended a Matabeleland North boarding schools meeting held at Milton High School in Bulawayo on Monday.
Dr Mutizira said the figures were cumulative, starting at six cases initial to 12 then 18, 46 and 49, making it 131 positive cases.
Contacted for comment, Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director, Mr Jabulani Mpofu confirmed the outbreak but expressed ignorance on the refusal by some teachers to be screened.
“It is true yes that there have been positive cases at the school but I have not heard that some teachers refused to get tested, for what purpose really? Get hold of the Lupane District Schools Inspector (DSI) who is on the ground and may give you the correct position,” said Mr Mpofu.
Mr Lovemore Ncube, the Lupane DSI said:
“What we know is that one student teacher and 82 learners have tested positive for Covid-19. Everyone in the school has been screened and we have not been informed that some teachers refused to be tested. As for the school head, yes, he attended the meeting in Bulawayo but was not coming from the school. He was from another meeting outside the province,” said Mr Ncube.
A parent who spoke to Chronicle said it was disturbing that school authorities seemed to want to keep the situation under the carpet as they were not updating parents of the exact situation at the school.
“We are hearing different figures and we don’t know which is which now. Our concern is why the school is understating the actual figure,” said the parent who asked not to be named to avoid his child from being victimized at the school.
Efforts to get a comment from the School Development committee chairperson Mr Munyaradzi Madzimure as well as the school Head were fruitless as their numbers went unanswered.
The country has to date recorded 257 166 positive cases with 251 167 recoveries representative a recovery rate of 98 percent.
There has been 5 598 recorded deaths while active cases rose to 391.
The positive cases at the school come at a time when Ordinary and Advanced level public examinations are about to start.