Johannesburg - Just as some parents are getting their children ready for school on Monday after a two-month lockdown, a Gauteng pupil has tested positive for Covid-19.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi announced this on Thursday while checking the readiness of some schools in the province.
He said the parents of the child, who is from Bronkhorstspruit, notified him on Wednesday. As a result, he said, the department had to make changes regarding the reopening of schools for Grades 7 and 12 on June 1.
"When children play in a community, they play with children from all other schools. When they (parents) notified us, we said 'let's do changes before that community goes back to school'.
"There will be areas that come back later on and not necessarily on the first of June depending on the circumstances. Generally we've had no problems, we're expecting everyone to come back, " Lesufi said.
Two days ago it was reported four teachers at separate schools in the Western Cape were infected with Covid-19.
The positive cases were from Hague Primary School in Delft, Parkvale Primary in Valhalla Park, Kasselsvlei in Bellville, and Wallacedene Primary School in Kraaifontein.
Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has stuck to her guns on plans by her department to re-open schools on June 1.
Motshekga said they were confident they had taken the correct decision.
"We made the case and explained why we have taken the decision to send children to school," she said.
She also said parents were under no obligation to send their children to school if they were anxious about their safety.
She insisted that anxieties of affected parents should not determine for children whose parents want them to go to school.
"We are saying don't stand in the way of children and parents who want to come to school," Motshekga said.
"We know schools are good for children. They play in the streets now. It can't be safe when they play in the streets."
Motshekga said personal protective equipment would be provided to all pupils and teachers.
"The provision will be made on arrival at school. Everybody will receive protective clothing on arrival," she said.
She also said the provinces were responsible for procurement of PPE and the department only developed specifications and prices for the equipment.
Motsheka said the PPE was not delivered to schools to avoid break ins and that pupils would receive two sets of PPE.
"The protocols are saying no child will be allowed in the premises if they don't have a mask. They can't declare they lost or forgot them," she said.IOL
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** 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