South Africa to conduct daily conoravirus test for students returning to campus
London, May 25, 2020 (AltAfrica)-As part of measures to ensure safety of students returning to campus from next month, South African government says students and staff members will be required to undergo daily Covid-19 screenings in bid to contain the spread of the virus
Aside the test, and an app has also been developed to screen those going back to institutions of higher education.
To ensure that institutions are supported in doing this, Higher Health, an agency under the department that focuses on student’s physical and mental health, has developed a digital screening and mapping tool.
“We’re working with every institution to ensure that every student and staff member has access to it. The results come back within one-and-a-half minutes of doing it. Once that’s done, it will let you know whether you’re low-risk, medium-risk or high-risk,” said Ramneek Ahluwalia, chief executive officer of Higher Health.
The screening and mapping tool, Health Check, is available on smartphones and laptops via Higher Health’s website.
Once students and staff members have received their results, they will need to show that they’ve taken the test. A daily barcode will be generated and sent to those who test negative for Covid-19.
Screening will be done once a day.
Those who are classified as moderate and high risk will be entered into the national health department’s tracking and tracing process.
Currently, the app is only available in five languages, but there is work being done to provide it in all 11 official languages, said Ahluwalia.
In each residence, there will be a Covid-19 response team that has screening volunteers. The screening teams will need to ensure that everyone in the residence is screened daily and those who display symptoms should self-isolate in their rooms, and be referred for testing.
Additionally, “institutions need to consider that each lecture, tutorial or practical starts with a coordinated process of assessing if anyone present has symptoms of Covid-19,” said Ahluwalia.
Alternatively, screening stations will be set up at campus entrance points. This will be done by Higher Health and institutions, and will have student and staff volunteers to assist at the screening stations. Volunteers will receive training from Higher Health.
Mass screening will be available at institutions for students who will not be able to make use of the app at home, or who don’t have devices to access it, said Ahluwalia.
For the screening stations, institutions will need to establish Covid-19 task teams led by a senior management official who will be supported by Higher Health support staff.
Those who don’t show symptoms will be allowed to enter campus. Whereas those who do show symptoms will be advised to self-isolate either at home or at the quarantine facilities. They will then be referred to testing centres for Covid-19.
Nzimande emphasised, as he has done before, that all these measures will be done to ensure that the academic year is saved – as well as lives. “Our theme is to save the academic year while saving lives,” said Nzimande.