A parent whose children attend King David School in Linksfield, Johannesburg, has tested positive for the coronavirus, confirmed the South African Board of Jewish Education (Sabje) in a statement on Thursday morning.
The parent recently travelled from the US via Dubai to South Africa, and arrived in the country “feeling slightly ill”.
He has placed himself in quarantine from his family and friends, and has opted to take his children out of the school. They will stay at home for the recommended quarantine period of 14 days, and the school has not been closed.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) March 12, 2020
Sabje said the announcement was not intended to cause panic, but that they were acting with transparency, and have called for calm.
Further communication will be received if there were any developments, Sabje concluded.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga circulated a memorandum to all provinces earlier this week, urging school heads to “consult before taking any action” by closing schools in light of the coronavirus.
According to basic education spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe, Motshekga’s directive, which has been sent to all education MECs, was aimed at “discouraging any alarmist decisions” by principals “because somebody is coughing, sneezing or has a blocked nose”.
“This virus has caused a lot of paranoia and we are not going to introduce extraordinary measures. There is no need to panic.
“Principals should not be allowed to close schools willy-nilly. Also bear in mind that social media has been making the situation appear like a crisis.”
Cowan House Preparatory School in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal shut down for safety reasons earlier this month, after the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case, a 38-year-old man who travelled to Italy along with his wife, tested positive after he returned.
The man’s children attended Cowan House. The doctor who made the discovery, also from Hilton, self-quarantined as well.
A private school in Middelburg closed its doors on Wednesday after a parent confirmed they would be going for testing for the coronavirus, Middelburg Observer reported.
The principle of the school said in a message to parents that the school would be closed on Wednesday, as she did not want to take chances until the parent undergoing testing informed her whether they tested positive or negative.
(Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Brian Sokutu and News24 Wire)