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Partying pupils contract coronavirus in Cape Town

Matrics urged to 'forgo short-term pleasures' until exams are over

While schools continue to observe Covid-19 regulations, after-hours socialising is putting students' health at risk. Stock image.
While schools continue to observe Covid-19 regulations, after-hours socialising is putting students' health at risk. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/arrowsmith2

School pupils are being cautioned to minimise their risk of contracting Covid-19 after reports that some Cape Town matrics have been partying at nightclubs without wearing masks.

A school in the southern suburbs raised concerns about a large gathering that took place at a nightclub on October 3, which was described as a “super-spreader” event in a letter sent to parents. The letter stated 59 people that attended the event had tested positive for Covid-19.

“Most of the pupils present [at the club] were matrics. As a consequence of the non-observance of safety protocols at that club, there is now a large number of Covid-positive matrics in neighbouring schools,” read the letter.

A group of doctors that advises schools on Covid-19 management said in another letter that “unfortunately, we have observed individuals testing positive at several schools in the past two weeks, after a brief reduction in numbers”.

“Infection prevention and control is in place in all schools and the risk of infection is likely higher in the community than at school,” the doctors noted.

The Western Cape education department told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE it has been informed by the department of health that “there are a number of people that have tested positive for Covid-19 associated with a social gathering unrelated to [one of the schools]".

“A tracing team from the department of health has contacted learners and is following up on close contacts,” it said.

“It is important to reiterate the importance of preventive measures as Covid-19 is still with us. Social gatherings must be discouraged and health and safety protocols, including the wearing of masks at all events in public and the washing of hands and social distancing, must be adhered to. The department will reaffirm these precautions in correspondence to schools soon.”

The health department has been approached for comment, as have two clubs cited as being popular with pupils.

As schools enter the most important part of the school year, which is matric exams, the doctors asked pupils to limit socialising outside school and to keep their meetings outside schools to a maximum of four friends, mainly outdoors.

They advised pupils to:

  • avoid indoor parties and sleepovers;
  • postpone visits until after their exams;
  • exercise to help manage their stress; and
  • observe social distancing.

One school principal said: “I appeal in the strongest terms to our pupils and parents to be aware at all times of the extremely high risk of infection when health and safety measures are not being followed — in particular, when masks are not being worn.

“To the matrics: you need to be willing — you must be willing — to forgo the short-term pleasures of partying, until the final examinations are behind you.

“To pupils from other grades who are frequenting parties: you too are placing our school community at risk, especially the matrics who are on the verge of such important exams.

“We must all adhere to our safety protocols while at school, when in public, and when at home. In so doing, we will ensure that we all stay Covid-free.”


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