Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
SOME teachers at Fatima High School in Lupane District in Matabeleland North allegedly refused to be tested for Covid-19 following a recent outbreak of the virus at the school.
The positive cases at the school come at a time when learners have started writing Ordinary and Advanced Level public examinations.
The number of positive cases at the Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (ZIMFEP) run school rose from an initial six. The first cases were reported on Friday last week and during a three-day mass screening exercise, the figure rose to 131, although education officials in the district put the actual figure at 83.
Medical authorities said the outbreak was from within, and no one is allowed to either enter or leave the school premises until the situation is returns to normalcy.
In an interview yesterday, Kusile Rural District Council Medical Officer, Dr George Mutizira said during the screening exercise, some teachers refused to be tested.
“We conducted a screening exercise at the school which was done over a period of three days due to other school extra-curricular activities, which prevented us from conducting the exercise in one day. Most of the learners and staff were screened except some teachers who refused to be tested,” he said.
“Our observations were that this is an institutional outbreak and as such we decided to isolate the entire institution from interacting with the outside world. We hope within the next two weeks the situation would have normalised.”
Chronicle also established that the school headmaster, one Mr Moyo, on Monday attended a Matabeleland North boarding schools meeting held at Milton High School in Bulawayo.
Dr Mutizira said the figures were for cumulative cases and those who tested positive now stands at 131.Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director, Mr Jabulani Mpofu confirmed the outbreak.
He, however, professed ignorance in terms of the alleged refusal by some teachers to be screened.
“It is true that there were positive cases at Fatima High School, but there was no such report that some teachers refused to get tested. You can get hold of the Lupane District Schools Inspector, Mr (Lovemore) Ncube who is on the ground for a correct position,” said Mr Mpofu.
Contacted for comment, Mr Ncube said: “What we know is that one student teacher and 82 learners 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.”
Mr Ncube said as for the school head, he will return to school when the situation normalises.
A parent who spoke to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation of his child, accused the school authorities of trying to sweep the issue under the carpet by failing to update them on the situation on the ground.
“We are hearing different figures and we don’t know which is which now. Our concern hinges on the school understating the actual figure,” said the parent.
Efforts to get a comment from the School Development committee chairperson Mr Munyaradzi Madzimure were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
As of Monday, the country had recorded 257 156 Covid-19 cases with 251 167 recoveries and 5 598 deaths. The national recovery rate is at 98 percent. [email protected]