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Delft school to be deep cleaned after confirmed COVID-19 case

Teachers and other staff returned to work for the first time on Monday since schools closed a week before the national lockdown was implemented in late March.

FILE: The Hague Primary School is expected to be decontaminated. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on Monday confirmed that a staff member at a Delft school had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Hague Primary School is expected to be decontaminated.

Teachers and other staff returned to work for the first time on Monday since schools closed a week before the national lockdown was implemented in late March.

They are preparing for the return of pupils in grades 7 and 12 next Monday.

“Whenever an employee tests positive or is exposed to someone who is positive, the necessary protocols must be followed. These protocols can be found in the WCED’s guidelines managing COVID-19 cases in schools. Schools have been provided with guidelines as well as what to do when there is a case of COVID-19 in the school,” said WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond.

As Western Cape teachers returned to schools on Monday to continue preparations for the phased return of learners, there were still concerns around health and safety.

Education MEC Debbie Shafer said more than 80% of schools had received materials for cleaning by 18 May.

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said it supported teachers going back to work, however, it stressed that there should be sustained delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE), and not a once-off supply.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said at this point, all schools should have the necessary materials, which included masks for teachers and pupils, scanners and the policy document to guide the schools.

Manuel also said there should be sufficient staff to clean classrooms and desks, saying that this should not be the responsibility of teachers.

“We’ve had 10 weeks of lockdown and we’ve started running around in the last couple of weeks, but even so, by now we should be more ready than we are in some cases,” Manuel said.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), Jonovan Rustin, said they were concerned that the WCED had not adequately deep-cleaned buildings.

“We need to have a collaboration with the private sector and the Department of Public Works to deep clean and sanitise our schools. Therefore, we are very uncomfortable about the proclamation of school readiness in the Western Cape,” Rustin said.

Sadtu is not entirely convinced that the province was ready to go back to school.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.