Covid-19 hits 589 Gauteng schools 4 days before 2nd phase of schools re-opening

Almost 600 schools shut after being hit by coronavirus.
Almost 600 schools shut after being hit by coronavirus.
Image: paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

Just four days before the re-opening of schools, Gauteng education department reported that a total of 589 schools were affected by positive cases of Covid-19.

This was announced by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi during provincial command council weekly update.Lesufi said 184 learners and 428 teachers tested positive for Covid-19 while 71 schools were closed as a result of positive cases.

The province expects about 1,3 million Grade R, 1,2,3,6,10,11, learners from schools of skills: years 2 and 3, schools for learners with severe intellectual disabilities, schools with learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities and schools with autistic learners to return to schools on Monday next week.

Lesufi said the emerging risks at schools were the management of Covid-19 cases.

Some of the emerging risk concerns the interface between health and education which results in delayed re-opening of schools.  Also, local business forum may prevent companies doing work especially donations.

 The 100% taxi load may have an impact on learners and teachers travelling to schools,” Lesufi said.

He said in the light of increasing cases at schools, teacher unions were requesting a revised slower approach for the resumption of learners to allow for the school system to adjust.

Lesufi said it has been proposed that there is a need to request a relaxation of 50% capacity rule and a relaxation of 1.5m to 1m as per the World Health Organisation guidelines.

We need schools to plan and report on their prefered option and timetabling implications at least a week before re-opening.

"Additional teacher requirements must be concluded and schools be allowed to employ additional teachers where approved. Schools much be cleaned and functional at all times. School access control and screening control guidelines adjusted for larger numbers,” Lesufi said.

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