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85% of pupils in Gauteng attended school on Monday, while 39 Covid-19 cases were reported

Eleven Gauteng schools were unable to open on Monday, while the majority of schools in the province opened successfully, the education department said.
Eleven Gauteng schools were unable to open on Monday, while the majority of schools in the province opened successfully, the education department said. 
Image: TimesLIVE/Nico Gous

Eleven Gauteng schools were unable to reopen on Monday, while the majority of  schools in the province reopened successfully,  the education department said.

“This serves to confirm that Gauteng recorded an 85% attendance of learners and educators for the first day of the reopening of schools,” said the department's spokesperson, Steve Mabona.

He said most of the schools did not reopen due to infrastructure issues which were being addressed. In some cases, principals closed schools unilaterally due to misunderstandings regarding the availability of scanners or screeners.

“We had several incidents of break-ins and vandalism over the weekend including up to last night. This has impacted on the PPEs, including scanners for screening, and other resources we had allocated to schools,” said Mabona.

However, the department said alternative measures, including temporary relocation of pupils to neighbouring schools, were being implemented.

Mabona said it had been anticipated there would be challenges on the first day of school.

Some of the challenges included a number of teachers testing positive for Covid-19 and some not reporting for duty on purpose, while some stayed away due to underlying illnesses.

“On comorbidities, we have noticed some absence of educators last week and today, due to having underlying conditions. We appeal to all to please comply with the guidelines in this regard, and to contact the school principal and district for clarity on whether your application is approved. But don't just stay away,” he said.

Mabona said most of the schools that had Covid-19 cases were reported before the reopening but the figure had since increased.

“Currently we have recorded 39 Covid-19 positive cases, from 38 schools, and 38 cases under investigation.”

The department said the affected schools would be decontaminated on an urgent basis.

“In the main, these cases arose before schools reopening for teachers. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, we have arranged for urgent decontamination of all such schools. We have informed the school community on what further measures we will take with respect to their particular schools,” Mabona said.

While personal protective equipment (PPE) was delivered to all schools, Mabona said some schools had experienced shortages but the matter was escalated for intervention.

Shortages included masks and cleaning detergents. “In the interim, schools were also provided with surgical masks if they did not have enough cloth masks,” he added. 

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