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Sunday, December 5, 2021

DBE to discuss continuing contact sport amid rising Covid-19 infection rates at schools

Two special meetings are scheduled for next week by the department of basic education (DBE) to discuss the impact of allowing contact activities to continue at schools.

This is in the wake of an increase in Covid-19 cases among pupils taking part in sporting activities across the country.

Inside Education reported that at least two schools in Gauteng have been closed after several Covid-19 cases were detected.

DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga confirmed that high-level meetings are set to discuss how the department, together with its provincial departments, should handle Covid-19 protocols, particularly around contact sport, going forward.

Inside Education reported this week that executive at Aspen Pharmacare Stavros Nicolaou said a third wave of Covid-19 infections is inevitable.

“Every year in South Africa about 11 000 people die of flu,” he said.

Studies by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases show that Gauteng will have the worst third wave across all scenarios. This is due to the higher concentration of working-age adults and people with co-morbidities, and the lower estimates of previous infections in the province, said the study.

The report also states that there has been an increase of infections in the Free State and the North West.

On Monday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said Covid-19 test positivity ratios have increased to 29% in the Northern Cape at the end of last week, 16.9% in the Free State and 12.3% in the North West.

This is the context against which the education department has decided to assess the impact of having allowed sport to happen at schools, and contact sport in particular.

Mhlanga said DBE will continue to monitor schools and the application of the health and safety protocols.

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