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Principal at Bellville school contracts virus
Shereen Gallie.

The principal of The Settlers High School in Bellville has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

In a letter to parents which the TygerBurger has seen, the school says the principal, Shereen Gallie, has been ill at home since 27 May.

The school referred all requests to the department of education who in turn said they would not be naming specific educators who test positive in a bid to protect their privacy.

In the letter, written by deputy principals Louisa Hall and Hugo Smuts, that was published on the school’s website parents are told there is no need for panic. 

“All protocols stipulated by the national institute for communicable diseases (NICD) will now be followed and she is in our thoughts as we wish her a speedy recovery.”

The school received the news on 1 June. Gallie had no close contact with other staff members and has followed safety guidelines as set out by the department.

“She also exercised all the necessary precautions. She wore a mask and visor at all times, exercised social distancing and stayed home once she was not feeling well.”

The school assured parents and the broader public that the safety of their children and staff members remains a priority.

“Although the scientists tell us that the virus only remains “alive” on surfaces for 24 hours and no one has been into her office since Wednesday last week, we used an external company to deep clean the offices, as well as the ladies’ cloakrooms as a precaution.”

Teachers and other staff are also monitoring themselves closely.

“We asked the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) why it is not necessary to close the school unlike shops and police stations. They say that in a shop or police station the entire building is closed for deep cleaning but as we can trace the movements of teachers at this stage, we need not close as we can deep clean her office without impacting any other parts of the building. Offices or classrooms are also smaller spaces than a big shop and, as there are windows that can open for ventilation, it is safe for use within a much shorter period.”

Debbie Schäfer, provincial minister of education, said they would not be confirming the names of any staff members who test positive for the virus.

They will, however, share the cases per district.

On 29 May, the number of schools with confirmed staff cases in Metro North (where The Settlers High School is located) stood at five.

The number of confirmed staff cases stood at six.

In total, the Western Cape has at least 32 schools with 37 staff members who have confirmed cases of Covid-19.


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