After concerns arose during the weekend and throughout the day of Monday, June 10, surrounding a possible outbreak of flu, more specifically swine flu, among its students, Laerskool Kenmare has made the decision to close the school four days early for the second school quarter, reports Krugersdorp News.
School principal Wouter Immelman wrote: “With regard to the tragic death of Connor Willson and the communication to you [Kenmare parents] per Facebook and WhatsApp groups on Sunday, 9 June, note the following: The survey conducted on Sunday was based on incidents in which learners had fallen ill by Friday, 7 June. The class teachers were not yet aware of what precisely was wrong with each absent child, and submitted the numbers as they were on Friday. The 10 or 12 sick children represent 0.99% of our children. It was, thus, not a big indication that we were facing a large challenge. At no point was the school informed by a medical professional or the department of health of a large number of people/ children who were diagnosed with swine flu, and that the school should give special attention to this.”
“A large number of parents took their children to a doctor today and, at the time of writing this letter, roughly 25% of our school’s learners were absent. This can be attributed to the fact that learners had already been diagnosed with an illness,” he continued.
It is important to note that Kenmare Grade 4 student Connor Willson’s tragic passing was reportedly caused by pneumonia. Connor’s mother told the school that he experienced a shortage of oxygen which led to the collapse of his organs. Thus, Connor did not die as a cause of the H1N1/ Swine flu virus.
Because of the high number of absentees from the school on Monday, Kenmare made a formal request to the department of education to close the school from Tuesday, June 11 until the end of this quarter.
“The decision was made to take preemptive action to ensure the well-being of each student,” Immelman added. There will reportedly be proper supervision at the school for children who cannot stay home during this time.
It should lastly be made clear that the school is by no means placed under any kind of quarantine, and that this decision did not come from either the department of health or the department of education. The decision to close the school a few days early comes from the school itself, with permission from the department of education, simply as a precautionary measure.