Nine matric markers in quarantine after colleague dies in KZN hospital

The rules state compulsory screening and mask compliance must be adhered to at the 181 matric marking centres around the country over an 18-day period.
The rules state compulsory screening and mask compliance must be adhered to at the 181 matric marking centres around the country over an 18-day period.
Image: 123RF/ Julija Sapic

A matric marker in KwaZulu-Natal died on Saturday after being rushed to hospital from a marking centre.

Provincial education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the marker was based at a centre in Estcourt, in the Midlands.

He said nine other markers who had close contact with the dead woman are being isolated in a guesthouse.

Conveying condolences to the family of the deceased woman, basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said regular mass screenings were conducted among markers and those with Covid-19 symptoms were referred to health practitioners.

Indications are that some markers go to centres knowing they are positive and we urge them not to do so as it is dangerous to the health of their colleagues and themselves

“Indications are that some markers go to centres knowing they are positive and we urge them not to do so as it is dangerous to the health of their colleagues and themselves,” said Mhlanga.

A total of 101 of the 8,730 markers who were expected to mark in KwaZulu-Natal did not arrive on the first day of work this week because of, among other reasons, the fear of contracting the virus.

Nomarashiya Caluza, the South African Democratic Teachers Union secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, said  the union has asked the department to ensure markers who shared the room with the deceased marker are isolated and tested.

“The department is advised to provide psychological support to other markers in the centre and conduct random testing for all markers,” she said.

Sadtu was worried at “the state of affairs at some marking centres in the province”.

Caluza said: “Since markers reported for duty, there were cases where the union has intervened, which include a large number of teachers who did not have accommodation.”

She urged teachers with accommodation problems to inform the department, and said  it was alleged that teachers did not apply for accommodation at centres such as Glencoe, Siyamukela and Estcourt, where there was a shortage.

“We are told that this has been happening for years but it had not been a problem before as there was always enough space to accommodate them. That is no longer the case as all centres must take 50% of their capacity.”

At some centres Sadtu monitors found markers chatting in large groups, said Caluza, who added: “No one wants marking centres to be superspreaders of the virus.”

Free State education department spokesperson Howard Ndaba said a senior marker who tested positive for the virus is in quarantine in hospital.

He said markers did not share rooms to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

The North West sent home two markers after they tested positive.

TimesLIVE


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