CASES of Covid-19 in schools are approaching the 1000 mark, with uMgungundlovu district being the hardest hit region in KwaZulu-Natal. Details are contained in a provincial Education Department document assessing the spread of the pandemic in KZN. File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
CASES of Covid-19 in schools are approaching the 1000 mark, with uMgungundlovu district being the hardest hit region in KwaZulu-Natal. Details are contained in a provincial Education Department document assessing the spread of the pandemic in KZN. File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 cases at KZN schools near 1000 mark

By THAMI MAGUBANE NM Time of article published Jul 14, 2020

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Durban - CASES of Covid-19 in schools are approaching the 1000 mark, with uMgungundlovu district being the hardest hit region in KwaZulu-Natal. Details are contained in a provincial Education Department document assessing the spread of the pandemic in KZN.

It showed that to date there were 873 Covid-19 cases across the province.

Of the 12 districts, uMgungundlovu is the hardest hit with about 183 cases, followed by Zululand at 122 and the Pinetown district at 96.

A startling number of 625 teachers tested positive for the virus as well as 155 pupils. A further breakdown of the numbers shows that 10 school administrative clerks had tested positive as well as eight food handlers, seven security guards and six screeners, nine cleaners and about 45 office staff were infected.

The spread of the disease continues to force school closures, but the department said it had taken comfort in the knowledge that all the infections were external and not within the schools.

Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they were aware of the statistics, saying the infections were growing in schools as they were in the community.

“What is important to note though is that all these infections have not happened in schools, but rather it’s people who were not well and went to the doctor and were diagnosed.

“Another positive is that since the schools have been opened it has given many pupils, who otherwise would not have had the chance, the opportunity to be screened five days a week and if a problem is detected, further steps can be taken.”

Mahlambi said schools and their staff remained vulnerable to the community spread.

“The premier this week raised the issue that we are seeing thousands of cases each week and the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, also warned that the worst of the disease is still coming.

“Some of our teachers are still using public transport as well as some of our pupils. In some cases you find that a husband of that teacher has been infected and that teacher has not been spared,” he said.

National Teachers Union president Allen Thompson said the figures were not a true reflection of what was happening on the ground.

“We saw their document and we fear they might be hiding information.

“We are busy collecting our statistics on this issue that we will release publicly.”

DA education spokesperson Imran Keeka said he was also concerned that the members of the education portfolio committee had not gone to inspect schools since the return of more grades.

The Mercury

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