Schoolchildren will still be required to wear face masks when they are indoors in class, the health department said on Thursday.
The department sought to clarify an “unfortunate and regrettable” error in a statement it issued on Wednesday saying that the requirement of wearing a face mask in indoor spaces did not apply to children at school.
“This is not part of the gazetted health regulations, and is therefore retracted to avoid any misunderstanding of the regulations.
“Therefore, children, like other people, are expected to continue complying with the provisions of regulation 16A on face masks in the classrooms and general indoor gatherings, unlike outdoors in playgrounds and sports fields,” the department said.
The department said face masks are an effective non-pharmaceutical intervention against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and it was more relevant now as the number of Covid-19 positive cases is rising once again.
The department said it has been receiving a lot of feedback from the public since announcing the extension of the public consultation process on Wednesday, together with the introduction of limited health regulations meant to manage the spread of Covid-19 and future notifiable medical conditions.
“We would like to urge all South Africans to continue to share their feedback because we believe it will assist the process as we move forward to finalise the regulations.”
Children attending school are still required to wear face masks in classrooms and in general indoor gatherings, says the department of health.