Education, Health Ministries urge boarding school management to retain students pending screening and monitoring exercise

Lilongwe Girls being tested during an exercise took place last week

* All students showing signs and symptoms will be screened and tested

* Those to test positive shall be separated from those that will test negative

* This is to avoid spreading the infection in the community if released for home

By Duncan Mlanjira

The Ministries of Education and Health is appealing to boarding school management not to release their students till the screening and monitoring exercise is done.

In a statement from the two Ministries co-signed by the Principal Secretaries, Chikondano Mussa for Education and Charles Mwansambo for Health, says all students that shall present with COVID-19 signs and symptoms will be screened and testing.

Principal Secretary for Education, Chikondano

Those that will test positive shall be separated from the ones that will test negative within the school premises.

This follows the Presidential directive that all students in boarding schools should remain in schools till they have been assessed by health authorities.

Dr. Charles Mwansambo

“It is important to retain students in school in order to avoid spreading the infection in the community where the more vulnerable people (parents and guardians) reside and are at risk of the serious disease if infected.

“Those that test negative will further be monitored whilst in the school since the virus might be in the incubation phase.”

In addition, says the statement, it is important to prevent the students who have tested negative and are truly negative from getting infected if they are allowed to go home and mix with the public where transmission is currently high.

Coronavirus alert

“Headteachers are therefore requested and advised to allocate hostels for those testing positive and others for those that test negative.

“For the schools that have allowed students to go home before or after

assessment by health authorities, return of such students shall be on condition that they bring a COVID-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) negative certificate valid within 72hrs.

“Those students that will return to school without the negative certificate shall be put on mandatory quarantine for a period of not

less than 10 days since they are currently mixing with the general public where community transmission is high.”

Coronavirus alert

The two secretaries say it is important to note that there are no adequate stocks to conduct PCR tests to the asymptomatic and that head teachers whose students have gone home are therefore advised to consider calling them back to school so that the process of monitoring and breaking the transmission among the students can start before schools are declared open.

“This will help avoid the requirement for a PCR test or alternatively going into quarantine upon return to school whilst their colleagues shall have resumed classes.”

Coronavirus alert