Motshekga, Ramaphosa to travel to Western Cape to check school readiness
Cape Town – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited schools in Gauteng on Thursday to check on their readiness to commence teaching and will on Sunday be travelling to the Western Cape with President Cyril Ramaphosa to assess schools' readiness.
Classes will commence for grades 7 and 12 from Monday and Motshekga indicated a number of schools in different provinces may not be able to resume on-site teaching then, but expected delays to last no longer than a week.
Schools in the identified hot spots in the Western Cape – Tygerberg, Khayelitsha, Klipfontein, Western (Dunoon) and Southern (Hout Bay) – will be Motshekga's main focus.
Areas where there have been clusters of outbreaks have been identified as hot spots, where testing, screening, tracing, support and treatment of the most vulnerable are prioritised.
"We were instructed on three principles, safety first, as the precondition. Second, make sure schools do not become centres of infection, and then education.
"So we will rely on schools and provinces to guide us on threats. There are threats in the West Rand, there are threats also in mines in Limpopo, and there is a big threat in the Western Cape.
"We are travelling to the Western Cape with the president on Sunday to discuss the plans that are in place, now that there are outbreaks," Motshekga said.
A school will also not be allowed to operate if it does not have demarcated safe distances between pupils in the classroom.
“There are going to be strict protocols from when students first enter the gates. There will be strict testing and if a school does not have a thermometer, it will not operate.
"If a school has not received its mask or other supplies, it will not operate,” Motshekga added.
Health Department statistics indicate that the age group between 10 and 19 accounts for 1 147 (4.2%) of the overall number of cases in the country.
The death toll rose to 403 in the Western Cape on Thursday, with 7 726 active cases of Covid-19, a total of 17 286 confirmed cases and 9 157 recoveries.
A total of 718 people are in hospital, of which 157 are in ICU or high care.
Scenario planning for the Covid-19 pandemic in the Western Cape forecasts that an estimated 9 300 people could die of the virus in the province.
The peak for Covid-19 infections in the Western Cape is expected at the end of June, beginning of July. The calibrated modelling exercise has projected that there will be a requirement of about 7 800 hospital beds at the peak of the pandemic.IOL