Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says there is no need for a closure of schools because of the increase in coronavirus infections as the department prepares to vaccinate teachers and support staff from Wednesday this week.
This follows calls from different sectors that schools should not reopen in July as the country is ravaged by the third wave of the coronavirus.
Gauteng Education’s Steve Mabona on rising COVID-19 cases in schools:
Motshekga says an increase in COVID-19 infections in schools will be dealt with school by school.
“We are of the view that schools must remain open and saying so, we’re not insensitive to the concerns raised about the rise in infections. The position which we will be representing to cabinet and also to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), is that COVID-19 cases must be handled case by case in a differentiated approach; on a province by province, school by school, and therefore if there is an outbreak the school must be handled there and it cannot be nationalised for any other reason.”
Angie Motshekga briefs the media on the basic education sector’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on schooling:
Vaccination for teachers
Earlier, the National Association of School Governing Bodies said it hopes that vaccines for teachers will be administered speedily so that when schools re-open in July, a large number of teachers would have been vaccinated.
The Association’s Matakanye Matakanye said he hopes Motshekga will strengthen COVID-19 protocols, especially in disadvantaged schools.
“We want to pursue the department of basic education to ensure that the SOPs are in place, particularly areas like schools in deep rural areas, schools that are poor, and schools in townships. Schools must have running water, masks sanitizers, and everything.”
Motshekga has announced a number of exclusions where certain teachers, admin workers, and cleaners at public and private schools will not be able to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the coronavirus. The department says vaccinations will start this Wednesday and last until 8 July.
More than 580 000 staff are expected to be vaccinated with the single-dose J&J vaccine in the next two weeks.
Minister Motshekga says the first exclusion is of people who have had COVID-19 in the last 30 days. She says there are two other exclusions.
Eastern Cape Education MEC, Fundile Gade on vaccination of teachers in the province: