Eighteen Western Cape schools close for cleansing as Covid-19 cases increase
Cape Town – Eighteen schools in the province were closed for deep-cleaning yesterday as the number of positive Covid-19 cases rose to more than 60.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) recently said 66 positive Covid-19 cases were recorded at 55 schools.
Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the cases included two learners.
“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.
Hammond said schools had been provided with guidelines on cleaning, as well as what to do when there is a positive case of Covid-19.
“Whenever an employee or learner tests positive or is exposed to someone who has tested positive, the necessary protocols are followed.
"Those who have been in close contact (eg handshake or hug) with a confirmed positive case are required to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the individual. Those not in close contact do not have to self-isolate.”
She added that schools need to contact the district for assistance regarding further cleaning.
She said to protect privacy, names of schools would not be released.
“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.
“While we do not have final figures of learner attendance at present, we can confirm that the number of learners attending school has increased, according to initial reports,” she said.
Chairperson for the Bloekombos High School Student Governing Body (SGB), Zingisile Postar, said four cases had been recorded at the school.
“Parents are understandably worried, but they feel they need to send their children to school. They trust in the fact that they have masks and sanitisers.”
He said when he visited schools he was not happy with what he saw.
“They only sanitised when I got there and I asked them about it. This needs to be taken more seriously, as parents are concerned about their children,” Postar said.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel said positive cases were expected.
“Teachers being impacted is increasing. We saw cases in the Western Cape last week and we are now seeing cases in KZN, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
"So it is picking up. Attendance is still relatively good. There is absenteeism, which is understandable, and people are anxious.”