North West Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela says schools must follow the standard operating procedures whenever they report cases of Covid-19. Picture: Molaole Montsho/African News Agency (ANA)
North West Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela says schools must follow the standard operating procedures whenever they report cases of Covid-19. Picture: Molaole Montsho/African News Agency (ANA)

73 teachers, 22 learners test positive for Covid-19 in North West

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Jun 29, 2020

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Rustenburg - At least 106 new coronavirus (Covid-19) infections had been recorded in North West schools, the provincial education department said on Monday.

The new cases comprised 11 non-teaching staff, 73 teachers and 22 learners. 

The provincial education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela, said the affected schools should follow the standard operating procedures regarding Covid-19 infections.

"I want to encourage all our officials throughout the department to follow the standard operating procedures whenever they report cases of Covid-19; school principals should ensure that they keep contact with the local clinic," she said in a statement.

"Schools must therefore take steps to circulate information about the disease and its potential transmission within the school community. The Covid-19 cases we have registered shows that the road ahead is long and we need to keep a positive attitude to ensure that we overcome the pandemic," she said.

She said that to date, 11 schools from Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Bojanala districts had reopened after being closed due to cases of Covid-19 being reported. 

The department of health declared the schools safe after they were decontaminated and disinfected.  

The secretary of the school governing body at Ruskraal Primary School in Lethabong, Mokotedi Mokotedi. Picture: Molaole Montsho/African News Agency (ANA)


In Lethabong, near Rustenburg, Ruskraal Primary School has been closed until July 8, after three teachers tested positive for Covid-19 on June 22.
The school was decontaminated and disinfected and was expected to re-open on June 25, but only seven teachers reported for work. The others were reportedly in self isolation waiting for their Covid-19 test results.

The school governing body's general secretary, Mokotedi Mokotedi, said parents took a decision to extend the school closure to curb any further possible spread of the virus. 

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the outbreak in schools was as a result of learners or educators having unknowingly acquired the virus in their communities, before returning to school. 

"It was for this reason that an intense screening and testing programme was instituted in schools, to ensure the early identification of cases before they become super-spreader events.

"As the department of health, we are equally keen to ensure minimal disruption to the school calendar going forward and so we, in collaboration with our experts, are working closely with the  department of education to strengthen protocols so that schools do not close unnecessarily because of identified cases."

Mkhize said provinces were expected to experience an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks. 

"We are closely monitoring all districts, whether they are high-transmission or low-transmission areas. Indeed, the differentiated approach emphasised the need to increase monitoring and surveillance in low-transmission areas."

African News Agency/ANA

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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