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COVID-19 cripples Matshekge Hill

The COVID-19 situation at Matshekge Hill Senior Secondary School in Bobonong can be described as dicey, at least according to speakers who attended a meeting between District Emergency Operation Team and the school management. 

It surfaced at the meeting that 10 Form Five pupils, three non-teaching staff and four teachers had tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 690 pupils, only 273 were not directly affected. However, about 214 boarding pupils were in quarantine at the school facilities while 203 day scholars were home quarantined.

Though separated into blocks, one female pupil reported that visitation by the quarantined and non-quarantined pupils to either camp went on unabated.

The said visitations were reportedly exacerbated by the absence of matron and boarding master.

A report by the school head, Mr James Butale, showed that a matron and boarding master were on quarantine awaiting results.

In the absence of matron, boarding master and some kitchen staff, the senior management assumed the reins of feeding pupils in quarantine.

In such a dicey situation, senior management feared that they too could be the carriers of the virus from one hostel to another as they move around tending to learners without proper personal protective equipment.

Consequently, the school found itself beleaguered by confusion, fear and anxiety of dealing with the pandemic that might spiral out of control if unchecked.

One of the senior managers, Mr Kakanyo Emang, noted that the school was at risk.

Although Mr Emang conceded that it was incumbent upon individuals to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, he was concerned that the situation at the school stood a greater chance of spiraling.

Mr Emang argued that teachers were ordinarily trained at ensuring effective teaching and learning, but not tending to health issues.

Consequently, some in the management mooted sending pupils, currently on quarantine at the boarding facilities, home for a better care.

However, some suggested school closure. They premised their argument on the finding that there was no effective teaching and learning at the school since some classes had less than half of the pupils. 

Chief medical officer, Dr Enock Mulomba, advised against sending pupils home while awaiting results.

Dr Mulomba’s contention was that sending pupils home posed a threat to a larger population especially if some of them could come out positive.

However, he allayed fears saying the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results would start trickling starting yesterday.

The chief medical officer informed the school management that pending the PCR test results, his medical team would test the remaining non-teaching staff, teachers and pupils with rapid antigen test.

In response to a possible closure of the school, deputy district commissioner, Ms Angelinah Leano suggested that Ipelegeng workers could be engaged to help clean dormitories and feed pupils in quarantine. 

This followed revelations that the school had only one permanent cleaner.

Engagement of Ipelegeng workers, she stated, would lift off the burden from the already overwhelmed school management.

She also sought solutions that would not stir alarm in the community, but put parents at ease. 

Ms Leano stated that sending pupils home would stretch the already overwhelmed staff and resources.

Senior assistant council secretary, Ms Gomolemo Moepeng, suggested involvement of social workers to bolster guidance counseling staff at the school in order to address fears and anxiety. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Manowe Motsaathebe

Location : BOBONONG

Event : Meeting

Date : Feb 02 Tue,2021

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