There has been an increase in positive coronavirus cases in the Northern Cape. Zolile Monakali, Northern Cape MEC for Education said since May 79 schools have been closed for disinfection in the province and 18 are still closed following sharp increases of Covid-19 infections in the province.
The schools in the province are seeing high infection rates among learners and teachers.
“We are observing all protocols in the province. There is social distancing. The schools have been disinfected and we all wear masks. The challenge that we are facing is that learners, educators and the support staff come from communities where big events are attended.
“They attend super spreader events and when they come to school, they infect and spread the virus,” he said.
But from the school’s side we are observing all protocols. We trying to control the environment and doing our best,” said Monakali.
The education MEC said his department is working with the department of health and that they are also acting on the advice they have received from professional healthcare workers as far as matters relating to Covid-19 infections at their schools.
The Northern Cape department of education has recorded a sharp increase in the Covid-19 cases at schools during the past week.
According to Monakali, the department has recorded 264 new positive Covid-19 cases, which included educators, learners and support staff at schools in the last week alone
“These statistics are very concerning as they lead to the sporadic closure and reopening of schools, thus having a negative impact of valuable learning and teaching time,” he said.
Monakali said all schools are implementing and following strict Covid-19 protocols to limit the spread of the Coronavirus in schools
However, he said, school communities also have a role to play in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in our schools.
“Our schools are a microcosm of society and therefore what transpires in our communities will have a direct impact on our schools and the education of our children.
“As the Covid-19 cases continue to increase in the Northern Cape, we appeal to our school communities to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols. The virus spreads through human interaction and therefore requires all of us to act responsibly at all times,” he said.
Northern Cape education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said the department values the lives of educators, learners and support staff at schools and therefore will continue to strengthen the support to all our schools during the pandemic.
Van der Merwe said the education department appeals to all school communities to be extra vigilant and comply with Covid-19 regulations and guidelines at all possible times.
“Limit your movement and contact with other people, avoid large gatherings, wear you mask at all times, sanitize or wash your hands and maintain social distancing.
“By doing this, all of us will contribute to limit the spread of Covid-19 in our schools. We all have the health and safety of learners, educators and support staff at schools at heart,” he said.