The Northern Cape Department of Education has again raised concern about the high Covid-19 infection rate among learners and school staff in the province.
The department has reported at least 339 new Covid-19 cases among teachers, school support staff and learners and six schools closed during the past week due to the virus.
Last week, 526 new Covid-19 cases in schools were reported, with the national Health Department also raising concern about rising infections in young people between the ages of 10 and 19 in the province.
Covid-19 in Northern Cape schools
High infection rate
In a statement, the provincial Education Department implored parents to limit the movement of children while they are at home.
“The high infection rate, especially amongst our learners, is very concerning and we appeal to parents and school communities to limit movement or social interaction of our learners whilst at home.
“Schools are a microcosm of our society and at this stage mirror the level of infections in our communities. School communities must remain vigilant whilst we still find ourselves in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
According to the department, plans are in place to ensure that learning at schools is not compromised during this period.
“The department is working tirelessly to normalise learning and teaching at our schools. Whilst the number of Covid-19 infections in our schools remain fairly high, we are satisfied with the manner in which our schools are managing and responding to these incidents at the level of our schools,” the department said.
Call to get vaccinated
The department reiterated the call for those over the age of 18 to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We urge parents, if your child is 18 years and above, to register them on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) for the public vaccination programme for this specific age group.
“The vaccination has proven to be safe and it provides a mechanism through which we can protect ourselves against the Covid-19 pandemic. Let us continue to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions by wearing our masks, sanitising and washing our hands regularly and maintaining social distance,” the department said.
Meanwhile, the department said Grade 12 preparatory examinations which start on Monday will not be affected by the rise in Covid-19 infections.
“The preparatory examinations will be conducted under strict Covid-19 regulations to limit any disruptions it may have on the Examinations.
“The Department has put systems in place to ensure that no learner’s academic performance are negatively affected, in cases where they cannot write due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the department said.
Contingency plans are in place for learners who are affected or infected by the coronavirus.
“In a case where a learner cannot write the common papers, due to a valid reason or Covid-19, he/she will receive an adjusted mark for the subject.
“In a case where a large group of learners are unable to write due to Covid-19, the school will reschedule a date for these learners to write a backup paper. This is in line with the existing Examinations policies currently in place,” the department said.