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Matric pupil dies from Covid-19 complications as school infections rise

Free State education department confirms resurgence of infections at schools

26 May 2021 - 14:38 By alex patrick
A Free State school pupil succumbed to Covid-19-related complications on Tuesday. Stock photo.
A Free State school pupil succumbed to Covid-19-related complications on Tuesday. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Pay less images

An increase in Covid-19 infections at schools in the Free State has claimed the life of an 18-year-old pupil in Welkom.

Provincial education department spokesperson Howard Ndaba said the matric pupil was one of 11 confirmed Covid-19 cases at Lephola Secondary School in Thabong. Other pupils were still awaiting their test results.

The teen tested positive on Wednesday last week after experiencing flu-like symptoms. He died just after midday on Tuesday.

The school is closed but is expected to reopen on Monday. 

Ndaba said the number of school pupils infected in the province had spiked. 

“We have a lot of schools many who are testing positive [for the virus]. Last week we had three learners in hostel at another school who tested positive. We're still waiting on results [from other pupils in the school], but I can confirm that there is a resurgence [of the virus in schools]. The numbers have gone up.”

According to SowetanLIVE, two kitchen staff, five boarders and a teacher tested positive at Eunice High School in Bloemfontein. Five teachers and 11 pupils tested positive at Tebang Primary School. 

The Lejweleputswa district in Welkom recorded more than 50 positive cases in just four days last week. The Xhariep district in Trompsburg saw 30 pupils and 14 teachers test positive for the virus.

The Educators Union of SA (Eusa) called last week for the closure of all schools in the country in response to reports about the increase in infections among pupils and teachers.

“With Gauteng, Free State and the Eastern Cape having declared that they have reached the third wave, it is inevitable that the whole country will follow soon. KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape have been reported to also be experiencing sustained increases over the last few weeks,” said Eusa spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobogwane.

He said that schools were contributing to the Covid-19 resurgence because safety protocols were not being adhered to.