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Gauteng Department of Basic Education refutes whistle-blower’s claims

The staff member asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

A concerned staff member of Dr Johan Jurgens High School in Springs has contacted the newspaper to express his disappointment on how the school has been handling Covid-19 cases.
The staff member, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, claimed parents of learners were being given incorrect Covid-19 statistics intentionally.
“The staff would be given completely different numbers from what the parents are told,” he said.
He claimed that on June 18, parents received communication that only three teachers and seven learners had tested positive.
“Some of us called the school pretending to be parents, just to verify the information.
“And to our dismay, we were given the same incorrect information intentionally.”

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However, it was revealed to staff that 15 learners and 10 teachers were Covid-19 positive.
He said he was also concerned that with all the cases considered, the school has not once been closed for decontamination.
“It does not make sense why they would put our lives at risk in this way.
“It is not fair.
“It is more important for the learners to know because if they had been in contact with the learners who had tested positive, they should get tested too,” he added.
At the time, the staff member believed those in charge at the school were only preoccupied with finishing the exams without any delays.
In response to our enquiry, the Gauteng Department of Basic Education (GDBE) wishes to refute claims that the school is misleading the school community by providing inaccurate statistics on Covid-19 cases.

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“Firstly, when a positive case of Covid-19 is reported at a school, a medical report is requested.
“The principal writes a report to the GDBE and the health department for necessary support.
“And as such, it is unlikely that a principal, who is expected to adhere to Covid-19 protocols and standard operating procedures will intentionally not be honest on information sharing.
“The Department of Health conducts an assessment and provides guidance on a decision to close a school or not,” explained Steve Mabona, spokesperson for the GDBE.
He said as the province continues to experience the third wave, it is important to note that the non-pharmaceutical interventions remain the most effective weapons to minimise the impact of the third wave and reduce transmission.
This includes the proper wearing of masks when in contact with other people, maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5m and washing of hands frequently, using soap and water or a sanitiser.
“We will continue to monitor the situation at the school accordingly,” he added.

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