There have been 66 COVID-19 cases recorded at 55 schools in the Western Cape, says the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

Western Cape MEC Debbie Schäfer announced during a media briefing on Sunday [June 7], that 11 schools in the province temporarily closed as a result and were scheduled to reopen yesterday [June 8]. IOL reports that this number has since increased to 18 schools, although the WCED has not confirmed.

“Over 99% of our schools were open as of last Friday. Eleven schools were closed on Friday due to cleaning. These schools should be open today [Monday], however, reports have yet to be collated in this regard,” WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said on Monday.

“Last week 55 schools reported new employee cases of Covid-19. This affected 66 employees. In each case, the necessary cleaning must take place. This may or may not affect the school in terms of closure, as some cleaning can take place on a weekend. It depends on the day of confirmation and the times at which the cleaning can take place.”

Hammond also explained that only two of the reported cases included learners, and they were infected prior to returning to school.

“As of Friday, we had two confirmed learner cases – these learners had been infected before arriving at school this week, and have since tested positive. A strict protocol is being followed in this regard, as per our guidelines. One case is allegedly in Metro East, and the other in the Cape Winelands,” she said.

The schools will now undergo the necessary deep cleaning protocols, and those who have been in close contact with the infected individuals will self-isolate for 14 days.
The names of the schools that closed have not been released to protect their identity. It is the responsibility of the schools to inform parents and teachers, says the WCED.

“Parents and staff at a school have the right to know about any case at their particular school, and thus schools are expected to keep staff and parents informed of the developments related to Covid-19, and the steps that have been taken to ensure their safety,” added Hammond.

The confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Western Cape are 32 048 with 12 149 active cases and 19 101 recoveries. The total death toll for the province is 798.

On Sunday, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said 95% of the country’s schools have been provided with COVID-19 related imperatives and were ready to reopen. Due to the phased reopening, 13.4% of the country’s learners returned to school, which represents 1.6-million students out of the total 13.1-million.

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