Schools in the Free State have been placed on red alert during the province’s third wave of COVID-19 infections, after a Grade 12 pupil who contracted the virus died just days later. There are now fears that the disease could rip through educational facilities again, just as they did during the previous peaks of infection.
COVID-19 threat in Free State schools ‘causing concern’
The Free State Education Department’s Howard Ndaba has sent condolences to the family of the deceased matric pupil. The 18-year-old studied at Lephola Secondary School in Thabong, and she was one of a dozen learners who had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. A teacher has also come down with the illness.
“As a department, we are gravely concerned about the rise in numbers of COVID-19 infections in our schools. At least 12 pupils were suspected to have contracted COVID-19 at the Lephola Secondary School in Thabong, Free State. These cases are all from one class of learners, where the virus spread quickly.” | Howard Ndaba
New COVID-19 cases in South Africa
Meanwhile, cases across the country continue to surge. Alarm bells were ringing well before Wednesday’s numbers came in, but with an additional 4 623 COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24-hour period, the strength of the resurgence has become apparent. Another 102 people were confirmed dead last night by the Health Department.
Today the cumulative number of #COVID19 cases identified in South Africa is 1 645 555, with 4 623 new cases. Today, 102 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported which brings the total to 56 077. Cumulative recoveries now stand at 1 546 583 representing a recovery rate of 94, 0% pic.twitter.com/0VG8lbc68t
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) May 26, 2021
Will schools close in South Africa
Although a conversation about school closures may surface at some point in the next few weeks, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has comprehensively dismissed claims that a shutdown is already taking place.
She has lashed out at ‘malicious messages’ which spread on social media, claiming that all schools in South Africa would close for the last few days in May and for most of June. However, you can file this under ‘fake news’… for now.