Girls College conducts mass Covid-19 tests after three learners test positive

Three Lower Six learners at Girls College in Bulawayo tested positive for Covid-19 forcing the private school to conduct mass Covid-19 tests on learners and the teaching staff to curb the spread of the virus.

The school engaged KEI Laboratories to conduct Antigen Covid-19 tests.

Learners who tested negative resumed classes while those who tested positive will be isolated for 14 days.

In a statement to parents and guardians, Girls College Headmistress, Les Malcom Ross, said the school had already sent the affected learners home and informed their possible contacts, as part of contact tracing.

“We have, unfortunately, had three Lower 6th boarder students test positive for Covid-19. They had returned home and we have already informed those who might have been in contact with them. To make sure there is adherence to Covid-19 protocols and for the safety of all our students and staff, we have contacted KEI Laboratories about doing the Antigen Covid-19 tests,” she said in a letter dated April 5.

The headmistress said the private school had agreed  that all staff and pupils coming to the institution would be tested and would be isolated until a time their individual results were out.

“We anticipate receiving the results no more than two hours after the tests are carried out,” she said.

Lessons for those who test negative for Covid-19 will resume, said the headmistress while learners who test positive would be expected to undergo a period of a minimum of 14 days in isolation.

“Form Threes, Form Fours, Lower Sixes and Upper Sixes are expected to attend face to face lessons from Tuesday  April 6, and are expected on school premises not later than 07:15 am. These are the classes that will be expected to be tested on Tuesday 6th April,” said Ross.

She also noted that Covid-19 testing was to be undertaken by KEI Laboratories in the school’s Hall veranda and students were to be tested unless, if some learners had letters from the parents not permitting them to do so.

“Unless your daughter has a letter refusing her to have the test taken, we will presume we have the parental consent for your daughter to undergo the test,” Ross said.

She also ‘strongly’ recommended that borders should be tested prior to leaving their hometowns, in case results come out positive.

“So as to avoid unnecessary expenditure driving to Bulawayo, and then having to travel back with your daughters. In compliance with Covid-19 protocols, border parents who arrive with their students and who do not have negative Covid-19 certificates are asked to wait while results are being processed,” said the headmistress.

Ross highlighted that for parents who do not grant authority for their daughters to be tested, their daughters would be expected to undergo a minimum of 10 days of isolation.

“Once tested, all students under the supervision of their form teachers, will be expected to remain outdoors – either at the mound, under the big tree, around the tuck shop or anywhere convenient,” she said

“We would like to express our appreciation in advance for all your support on this matter. We have all been affected in one way or another by the Covid-19 virus. We need to work together to somehow stay on top of the virus. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, this offer from KEI Laboratories is for Tuesday  April 6 ONLY. Students will not be allowed to return to school after this unless the results of a negative test are produced, or after 10 days of isolation.”

The headmistress indicated that her office was open to handle queries.

As of April 6, 2021, Zimbabwe has recorded 36 966 people who had confirmed cases including 34 242 recoveries and 1 531 deaths

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