NC govt working to curb COVID spread after 180 pupils, 62 teachers test positive

A statement by the NC education department said 180 pupils, 62 teachers, and 22 support staff at schools tested positive for the virus this past week.

FILE:  the department said since 1 May 2021, 79 schools have been closed to allow for disinfection. Picture: © paylessimages/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG – The Northern Cape education department has moved to assure parents that all the necessary precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in schools have been put in place.

This comes after 180 pupils, 62 teachers and 22 support staff at schools tested positive for the virus this past week.

In a statement released on Sunday, the department said since 1 May 2021, 79 schools have been closed to allow for disinfection and the immediate isolation of staff and learners.

The departments Geoffrey van der Merwe said a total of 61 schools have already reopened, whilst 18 schools remained closed.

READ: 28 NC schools closed in May so far as COVID infections rise

“The Department continues to monitor the situation at our schools very closely and intervene where needed to emphatically address the concerns of educators, learners, support staff, and parents,” read the statement.

On Saturday, the basic education minister announced that all schools will reopen next month.

The Northern Cape department said: “Whilst schools are still making use of differentiated timetables and rotating learners daily, parents also need to provide support at home. Schools will also implement recovery plans where learners would be expected to be at schools for extended hours to make up for the learning losses.”

ALSO READ: Primary school pupils must return to daily school attendance from July -DBE

Pupils in grades R to 7, and children with special educational needs in grades R to 12, are expected return to the traditional timetabling and daily attendance from 26 July – provided that the risk-adjusted differentiated strategy for COVID-19 is implemented.

ALL CONTACT SPORT IN SCHOOLS REMAINS SUSPENDED

Earlier this month, the basic education department suspended all contact sport at South African schools has been suspended with immediate effect.

The Council of Education Ministers reached the decision in a virtual meeting.

The department said non-contact sport training in schools could continue provided that all social distancing, hygiene and safety measures would be observed and there would be no physical contact between participants during training.

The department's Elijah Mhlanga said: “Schools are also urged to report any cases that they come across in any activities that they undertake.”

Mhlanga confirmed that the suspension would remain in place even as pupils are expected to attend classes daily, and this had been explained in the newly gazetted directions.

"The Gazette also deals with the issues around the suspension of contact sports. The Gazette has a list of the sporting activities that are not allowed to take place at this time in schools until further notice."

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