Schools in the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape appear to be the hardest hit by rising Covid-19 infections. This has been a cause for concern for the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA).
Northern Cape reported more than 500 new positive cases on Monday with the majority being learners and the remainder being teachers, while the Eastern Cape reported similar numbers.
The union's Executive Director, Basil Manuel, says that it is not exactly the fault of the learners and teachers but rather a lack of oversight by the department in ensuring that all parts of the required procedures are being followed.
When you look at the Northern Cape that is so sparsely populated with a very small number of learners and yet so many are infected, it says something is not going right. If you look at KZN and the Eastern Cape, similarly there seems to be a breakdown. The standard operating procedure is not being followed to the latter.
Manual adds that this is particularly the case in schools that are located in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu-Natal where there tends to be a miscommunication between the education and health department regarding the monitoring of infection rates in schools.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Northern Cape's education department recorded 526 new Covid-19 infections, which include 54 educators, 439 learners and 33 support staff.
As a result of this eight schools have been closed to allow for contact tracing and disinfection of the school premises. Five of these schools were scheduled to reopen on Monday.
Manuel also points out that the one-metre social distancing is not being maintained which also contributes to rising infections and long term solutions to tackle the issues of overcrowding in schools need to be worked on.
We've got to work on overcrowding in our schools. It's not one that will be fixed by tomorrow and unless there is a plan in place with a long term solution, we are gonna continue having this for the next few years to come if Covid is still with us.
Additionally, the union says although the education department has made notable improvements in some areas, there are still many issues such as school infrastructure, water supply and as well as following and adhering to protocols.