All contact sports have been suspended at schools with immediate effect, the Department of Basic Education announced on Wednesday.
CONTACT sports have been suspended at schools with immediate effect, the Department of Basic Education announced today.
“This is a decision made by the Council of Education Ministers that has taken a decision to suspend all contact sports in schools with immediate effect.
“Non-contact sport training in schools can continue provided that all social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are observed and that there is no physical contact between participants during training,” the DBE said.
The decision follows calls made by education experts and activists as a result of the looming third wave. The risk of the spread of Covid-19 is expected to increase due to the cold, wet weather.
Education activist Hendrick Makaneta said: “The fact that some schools are now closed due to several cases of Covid-19 is enough justification for the call to suspend school sporting activities. We cannot afford risk especially now that we are entering the winter season. Government should suspend school sporting activities without delay,” he said.
“There is no doubt that sporting activities in schools defeat the whole purpose of social distancing and can serve as the conduit that enables the virus to be transmitted faster.”
Following the reopening of schools, early this year, the DBE gazetted directions allowing non-contact sport, sports related activities and school-based art and cultural activities to resume without spectators, subject to adherence to safety measures.
On February 12, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga gazetted directions on school sports and extra mural activities, non-contact sport, sports related activities and school-based art and cultural activities to resume subject to health and safety protocols.
“During the last week of Term 1, school sports activity related Covid-19 outbreaks in Gauteng were reported and have been gradually increasing in Term 2.
“It is evident that despite following the protocols as guided by the directions on extramural activities and standard operating procedure on the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in schools, contact sports events still contribute to the spread of Covid-19,” the DBE said.
The department said following the outbreaks and general rise of cases in communities across the country, the Outbreak Response Team (ORT) said that the risk was high when engaged in close-contact sports, especially with people who did not live together.
“In this regard, all sporting activities have been suspended with immediate effect until the clusters outbreak is subsequently over with no further cases reported including the preparatory school sport,” the DBE said.