South Africa

News24.com | Covid-19: Schools will remain open amid third wave of Covid-19 infections

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The Department of Basic Education has said schools will remain open even though the number of Covid-19 infections continues to soar.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga got down to business on Saturday, addressing the rollout of vaccines for the education sector and stressing schools must remain open amid the third wave of infections. 

Motshekga said during the briefing the department was not insensitive to the concerns raised about the rising infections, but it believed schools must remain open.

"The position is that we continue to handle Covid-19 cases according to the differentiated strategy, on a province-by-province, school-by-school basis," she added.

"While there are disruptions in the sector, the majority of our schools remain fairly stable. Our social partners and key stakeholders expressed the same view in our engagement earlier today [Saturday]."

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Motshekga conceded while there have been disruptions in the sector; the majority of schools remained stable.

Disruptions have been reported at approximately 100 schools due to the pandemic, but more than 25 400 others remain stable.

She said the department had taken advice from its health counterparts in making its decision.

Vaccines

Motshekga added the vaccine rollout for teachers would begin on 23 June and continue until 8 July 2021.

A total of 582 000 teachers are expected to be vaccinated within this two-week period.

The department said all registered teachers would be vaccinated, regardless of age, whether they were vaccinated before as well as staff who transported children and feeding scheme staff.

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"For the next two weeks, we make the clarion call to our school communities to 'drop all, and vaccinate'," it added.

"In order for us to successfully complete this programme, we will need to keep schools open. Any disruptions would be undesirable," Motshekga said.

She added schools should not shut down due to a single incident of Covid-19, however, they should isolate those who have been exposed.

"With the support and guidance from the Department of Health, the vaccination programme for DBE [Department of Basic Education] will be unfolding with immediate effect. We urge all teachers and everyone else in the sector to say lets pull [out] all stops and make sure that we do vaccinate everyone in the sector."

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