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Schafer: No evidence COVID-19 spreading within schools

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that just under two-thirds of schools in the province had not reported any coronavirus cases.

FILE: Grade 7 pupils at a Western Cape primary school on 1 June 2020 sit in class after schools reopened following a national coronavirus lockdown, which started on 27 March 2020. Picture: @WCEDnews/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that just under two-thirds of schools in the province had not reported any coronavirus cases.

Schafer's confident that schools across the Cape are ready to welcome grade R, grade 6 and grade 11 learners on Monday.

Additional personal protective equipment, as well as cleaning supplies, have also been sent to schools.

So far, 755 school staff members and 214 learners have tested positive for COVID-19. Several have already recovered in the province.

MEC Debbie Schafer said that there was no evidence that the coronavirus had spread within schools. Eighty-one percent of schools that had reported COVID-19 infections had only recorded one or two cases each.

She said that when a case was reported, a school may be partially or fully closed for decontamination.

"We've had on average about 20 closed per day out of our 1,509 schools. Those are not all COVID-19 related, some are because of community protest actions."

Schafer said that the department was offering temporary classroom assistant posts to combat a staffing shortage.

"Staff with co-morbidities we have received approximately 2,300 applications and approved over 1,700 so far, so that is a concern."

She said that not all learners would be at school each day to ensure pupils were able to social distance.

At the same time, a group of 40 Western Cape school principals plan to intensify their campaign calling for schools to be closed.

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