Masunga — A North East District education official has alleged that Masunga Senior Secondary School learners were deliberately spreading coronavirus.
Speaking in an interview with BOPA yesterday, Ms Angela Matlhape, the chief education officer, said the motive for spreading the virus was in the hope that it would get out of control leading to the school's closure.
Ms Matlhape stated that some envied the special diet provided for those who had tested positive and wanted to contract the virus in order to also benefit.
She said all the 57 positive cases at the school were learners and that only one was a day scholar.
All 680 boarders and 67 day scholars, teachers as well as support staff, were tested but only learners tested positive, noted Ms Matlhape.
She said the school management, together with the Ministry of Basic Education, had set aside a block each at the girls and boys hostels to isolate positive learners.
However, Ms Matlhape said the move had proved to be an uphill battle as the negative and positive pupils deliberately mingled in the absence of teachers, matron and boarding master.
The behaviour, she said, had caused panic among teachers and non-teaching staff, who were doing a great job in following all COVID-19 protocols, to protect themselves and their families.
The chief education officer said 16 learners were at the Matsiloje isolation centre while the rest were in the school hostels.
She explained that the school was forced to isolate positive learners on the premises due to shortage of beds at Matsiloje isolation centre.
Ms Matlhape said a school nurse, trained in conducting COVID-19 tests, was on hand while the District Health Management Team had indicated its readiness to assist with more human resources, should the need arise.
The North East District Council had deployed social workers to the school to offer counselling to the learners, teachers and support staff, she said.
She said a close eye would be kept on the situation at the school by managing and guarding the learners at the hostels.
All Form Four learners would be tested upon reporting to ensure no new virus was brought into the school, Ms Matlhape said.
Source : BOPA