Cape Town – Fifteen schools in the province have had to be closed after positive cases of Covid-19 among staff and pupils.
The provincial Education Department has confirmed that schools closed included Siyabulela Primary and Thembani Primary in Langa and Gordon’s Bay Primary in Gordon’s Bay.
Gordon’s Bay Primary received a letter from its principal informing them that a Grade 7 pupil tested positive for the coronavirus. The pupil had been sent home after showing flu-like symptoms last Thursday.
“We can give you the assurance that there was no close contact with this learner while he was at school. All Grade 7 learners must please stay at home so that we can decontaminate the school,” the principal wrote.
In an earlier briefing, Brian Schreuder, head of provincial education, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, 98 teachers had been infected, but these infections happened before schools reopened.”
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said 1787 pupils in the Western Cape have tested positive thus far: “The number of cases in (school) children as at June 5 has people very concerned, and the immediate reaction is that it is because of schools being open. It isn’t.
“Of this number, 1537 of those cases were reported before May 29, before schools even opened. The 1787 is just 6.4% of the number of infections across the province on the same date.”
Departmental spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed the positive case at Gordon’s Bay Primary and that the school was being decontaminated before reopening on Monday.
In the first week following the reopening of schools, the department said that more than 60 staff and two pupils in 55 schools tested positive for Covid-19.
In a statement, Premier Alan Winde said: “I fully understand that parents are worried about the Covid-19 pandemic and how the reopening of schools might impact their child’s well-being. As a parent myself, I know that our No 1 priority is always the safety of our children.”
It was earlier reported that a teacher from Florida High School in Ravensmead had died from the virus, but no confirmation could be ascertained from family or the department.
Hammond said it does not disclose the medical records of employees or the reasons as to how they died. However, she confirmed the teacher has not returned to work since the reopening of the school.
“He has been hospitalised for over a month. Therefore, there was no contact at the school,” Hammond said.