The Free State Department of Education says the rising number of positive cases in schools across the province is of concern but they are working closely with the Department of Health to monitor the situation.
According to the Department of Education’s spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, the situation at schools in the province schools is a direct reflection of what is currently happening in the communities. “We need to start at community level by following the non-pharmaceutical protocols that have been put in place, such as wearing of masks, not becoming complacent, social distancing and not travelling unless it is really necessary.”
According to Ndaba, they have seen an increase in the numbers at schools once learners and teachers returned from the holidays. He says most of the learners are not aware that they might have Covid-19 until they get to school and do the screening process.
“Our standard protocols and systems are working, and this is how we have managed to keep our learners safe.” He further explains that the department is working closely with the Department of Health, which gives them expert advice on each case as it happens.
He says it is important to remember that not every school situation can be treated the same. “We are also working closely with the Department of Social Development to give counselling as this is also a traumatic experience for those staff members and learners who have tested positive as well as those who are Covid-19 fatigued.”
Ndaba says they are also requesting parents not to visit schools unless necessary. They are also calling on staff and learners to observe Covid-19 protocols.