More research needed into schools' COVID-19 risk, says Motshekga

More research needed into schools' COVID-19 risk, says Motshekga

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says there is no evidence that schools will become a breeding ground for COVID-19 infections.

Angie Motshekga on schools going back in June 2020

Motshekga updated parents on Sunday ahead of the return of more pupils to school.

Only pupils in Grades R, 6 and 11 returned to school on Monday due to concerns over the surge in COVID-19 infections.

Speaking in Pretoria, Motshekga said less than one per cent of the country's teachers had been infected by coronavirus since schools reopened on 1 June.

During the same period, 1 260 pupils had been infected by the virus. The comes down to 0.01% of the total school population.

"Not surprising, the highest number of infections followed the national trends, with the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng having recorded the highest number of infections for both teachers and learners," said Motshekga.

READ: COVID-19 claims 4 KZN teachers, security guard

"We, unfortunately, lost the lives of eleven teachers and four non-teaching staff in the Eastern Cape to the virus as well as three learners who are reported to have succumbed to COVID-19.  

"The reports show that some of these teachers and learners could not have the opportunity of reporting back to school on school reopening. We convey our deepest condolences to the affected families."

She added that there is not enough evidence to suggest that schools are risk centres, and more research will be done during the second phase of reopening.

"We currently do not have any data or dates on infections as confirmed by the number of cases of the virus among teachers and learners.

"That is why when we mention the statistic of teachers who have passed and learners and it was confirmed that the majority of them will not have even reported in schools by the time they succumb to the virus.

"But what we are currently doing is putting in place mechanisms to make that schools do not become the epicentre of this virus because that was one of the conditions given to us.

"In the next round of we will have smart evidence that will confirm that indeed schools have been centres of the spread. For now, we don't have any evidence."

NOW READ: COVID-19 hit 968 schools across SA: Motshekga

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