The number of infected individuals in our schools is increasing. This week the number of reported positive cases is at 429 which is an increase of 242 from 187 cases we reported last week. The new figure includes 306 teachers, 81 learners and 42 other employees of the Department. UMgungundlovu District remains the hardest hit district with 93 positive cases.
We are saddened to announce that five (5) of employees from the Department of Education have succumbed to COVID-19. They are two (2) teachers from Zululand, one (1) teacher from Umzinyathi, one (1) teacher from Umlazi and a security guard from ILembe.
The total number of affected schools is currently 345 schools in the province. The good news is that 236 schools have returned to full operation after all due processes were followed. Other 70 schools are ready to receive teachers and learners back tomorrow for teaching and learning. The 39 schools that reported positive cases on July 2 and 3 are expected to return to normal by not later than Wednesday.
It is expected that new cases will keep coming forcing some of the schools to take a break while dealing with issues of screening, testing and decontamination.
The Department will release a protocol, on Monday, to further clarify steps to be followed when positive cases are reported in the Department. This will bring uniformity in the manner the entire Department will deal with both suspected and positive cases as it is important at times such as this to maintain stability by eliminating factors that may cause anxiety and confusion.
We always encourage Departments to maximise their co-operation in addressing challenges emanating from this pandemic.
ADDITIONAL GRADES RETURNING TO SCHOOL ON 6TH JULY 2020.
The Minister of the Department of Basic Education; Mrs Angie Motshekga on Thursday, 2 July 2020, hosted the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) which agreed on the grades that will return to schools tomorrow and subsequently other grades at a later stage. That decision was reached after careful consideration of all factors presented to the CEM.
The national decision was that Grades 6, 11 and R will return to school on Monday, 06th July 2020. KwaZulu-Natal has, however, opted to delay the return of Grade R to schools until a later date that will be communicated in due course.
In preparation for the returning grades, the department has purchased additional COVID-19 essentials. The Department has also a challenge of ensuring that both learners and teachers who have underlying health conditions are protected from the virus. Necessary measures have been put in place to support the learners and the teachers. Measures are in place to ensure that there will be no class without a teacher.