Contact sports at schools have been suspended with immediate effect as the number of Covid-19 cases increase in South Africa, the Department of Education (DBE) announced on Wednesday morning.
“All sporting activities have been suspended with immediate effect until the clusters outbreak is subsequently over with no further cases reported, including preparatory school sport,” the department said in statement.
The department said the decision came after a virtual meeting of the Council of Education Ministers, adding that non-contact sport was not banned.
“Non-contact sport training in schools can continue, provided that all social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are observed and there is no physical contact between participants during training.”
The department said it was concerned with the number of Covid-19 outbreaks in Gauteng related to school sport.
“During the last week of Term 1, school sports activity related Covid-19 outbreaks in Gauteng province were reported and have been gradually increasing in Term 2.
“It is evident that despite following the protocols as guided by the directions on extramural activities and standard operating procedure on the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in schools, contact sports events still contribute to the spread of Covid-19.
“Following the school sports-related Covid-19 outbreaks in Gauteng and general rise of cases in communities across the country, the Outbreak Response Team (ORT) said that the risk was high when engaged in close-contact sports, especially with people who did not live together.”
The department further said that a Government Gazette would be issued with the notice in the coming days.
“The department will continue to monitor the situation.”
Last week, DBE spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department had teamed up with the provincial department of health and school health teams to conduct contact tracing and tracking at schools across Gauteng.