Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday that less than one percent of the country’s teachers had been infected by the coronavirus since the return of grade 7 and 12 pupils on June 8.
That translated to 2,740 infected teachers out of about 440,000 teachers in SA.
During the same period, 1,260 pupils had been infected by the virus, about 0.01% of pupils in total.
“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.
“We unfortunately lost the lives of 11 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.”
“We must continuously remind South Africans that schools are a direct microcosm of societies in which they are located. On a daily basis, we see an unprecedented rise in Covid-19 infections, due to a number of factors, including non-compliance with the health, safety and social distancing protocols on Covid-19.
“What we see in our communities, is the same phenomenon that is beginning to creep into our schools. Since our grade 7 and 12 learners returned to school on June 8 2020, 968 of the 25,762 schools were closed and reopened.
“This is almost 4% of the total number of public and independent schools in our country.”
Motshekga said on Thursday that only grades R, 6 and 11 would return on Monday.
This was a change to earlier plans gazetted on June 29 stating that grades 1, 2, 3 and 10 would also return on Monday.
The basic education department admitted to cutting the number of pupils returning to class because the experience of the past month had indicated that schools would be overwhelmed, reported the Sunday Times.
But at least three provinces have opted to halt the return to school of grade R pupils, SowetanLIVE reported on Sunday.