Just two weeks since schools reopened, the number of teachers and learners testing positive for COVID-19 continues to rise and academic activities are being disrupted as schools closed so they can be disinfected.
On Thursday Gauteng provincial government confirmed that so far 58 learners and 188 teachers have tested positive for the virus.
Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said it takes an average of two to three days for schools to be disinfected.
“It depends on the guidelines that we receive from the Department of Health. We can only take any decisions as per the guidelines of the Department of Health. They would normally come and visit the schools with our officials and check on the person that has tested positive and how many contacts we have to trace. It's normally between two to three days that we will close the school and ensure we decontaminate the entire school,” said Mabona.
According to the Department of Health guidelines, a person who has tested positive for the virus must isolate for 14 days and schools need to be disinfected when there is a confirmed case(s).
Ikeleng Primary School in Mabopane, North of Pretoria, has been closed since Tuesday for disinfecting after a teacher there tested postive for COVID-19.
The education department says there is no need to get additional teachers during the isolation period because only the grade 7s and 12s are at schools at the moment.
Mabona said: “For now there is no need for additional teachers. Actually we have a surplus of teachers”.
But parents are still concerned with the risk of infection at schools, despite government's assurances that all standard operating procedures for safety are observed.
A mother of a learner at Ikereleng, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her child's identity, said learners should go back to school at alert level 1 because a child is not only at risk of infection but of infecting their parents as well.
The Department of Health confirmed there are 830 confirmed cases in City of Tshwane sub-district 1 with 202 recoveries. The total number of confirmed cases in Gauteng is 28 746 with 7132 recoveries.