Covid-19: Basic education department to meet over possible suspension of school sports

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Could school sports be suspended?
Could school sports be suspended?
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  • The basic education department has confirmed it will be meeting next week to discuss school sports as a matter of concern.
  • This week, two top Gauteng schools recorded several Covid-19 cases.
  • The departments of education and health in Gauteng said St John's College and Krugersdorp High School jointly registered 17 positive cases.

The Department of Basic Education is set to meet next week to discuss the possible suspension of school sports in the wake of increasing Covid-19 cases. 

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told News24 on Friday it was still gathering information on the matter. 

"There is a meeting next week to look into the matter. Information is being gathered in order to make an informed decision. The infections in schools, involving sporting activities, are an issue of real concern," he said. 

This week, News24 reported that two top schools in Gauteng had several pupils test positive for Covid-19.

READ | Covid-19: Move to stricter lockdown, experts warn, as third wave looms

At St John's College, grades 11 and 12 as well as sixth form (A-Level) pupils were placed in quarantine after eight pupils and a staff member tested positive. 

"We have had excellent and constructive discussions with the Department of Health and the Department of Basic Education over the past few days, during which our Covid-19 management team was applauded for the excellent protocols we have in place and our handling of Covid-19 cases at the school," it said. 

READ | Who is Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong and why is he giving SA R3bn to help produce vaccines?

This week, the Gauteng departments of education and health released a joint statement, saying St John's College and Krugersdorp High School jointly registered 17 positive Covid-19 cases.

"We can confirm that a decision has been made, in consultation with the DoH, district directors and GDE management, to suspend academic activities at Krugersdorp High School and St John's College as a means of managing the discovery of several Covid-19 cases in each school," said the departments. 

St John's, however, denied it was closed, saying all but three grades were physically attending school.

Outbreaks

Meanwhile, the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa) said it had not received any reports of major outbreaks in schools 

"Some schools have had Covid-19 cases but these appear to have been contained and are not disproportionate to any other sector of society at this time," it added.

On school sporting activities, Isasa said schools conducted their own risk assessments and encouraged them to adhere to national state of disaster guidelines. 

"Some schools have opted to conduct intra-school training and matches; others have elected to hold inter-school meets in line with current government guidelines and using the prevailing health and safety protocols pertinent to preventing Covid-19 transmission.

"Should the instructions from government change, our schools will be notified by ISASA of such changes so that they may make the necessary adjustments," it added.

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