Covid-19 update: Some schools cancel matric farewells as exams loom

Covid-19 update: Some schools cancel matric farewells as exams loom

Some South African schools have opted out of hosting matric farewells this year due to the crisis. Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in SA.

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Matric farewells are usually a celebration of students managing to complete their year and schooling career.

However, it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen some schools reconsidering their plans for the occasion.

Briefly.co.za explores the top stories on the situation below:

coronavirus
Some schools have decided to cancel matric farewell celebrations. Image: Twitter/ @DBE_SA
Source: UGC

1. Some schools halt matric farewells

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many schools to cancel matric farewell celebrations.

Department of Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga weighed in on the situation, commenting in a statement that:

"There are two risks to this, the first one is that you could organise a gathering where learners are at a high risk of being infected and when they are infected then it means they will not be able to write the exam for as long as their results indicate that they are positive."

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Mhlanga warned that students who tested positive will need to wait until next year to write their finals:

"The only time they will be allowed to sit in an exam will be in May and June in 2021. The second risk is that the focus will be too much on these parties and move away from the real work, which is the revision."

While some schools have decided to cancel altogether, others have decided to host virtual events which would allow families and even students from other grades to witness the occasion.

2. Mkhize on the latest statistics

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has updated South Africans on the latest Covid-19 statistics.

In a statement released by the Department of Health on Monday evening, Mkhize commented that:

"As of today, the cumulative number of detected COVID-19 cases is 705 254 with 1 461 new cases identified since the last report."

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In addition to the new infections, the minister also confirmed that more fatalities had been recorded:

"Regrettably, we report 61 COVID-19 related deaths today: 21 from Eastern Cape, 19 from the Free State, 3 from Gauteng, 1 from Mpumalanga 6 from Northern Cape, 8 from Western Cape and 3 from KwaZulu Natal. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 18 492."

Mkhize announced that there had been a typographical error which occurred when the total number of deaths were recorded on Sunday, clarifying that:

"We therefore confirm that yesterday’s total number of deaths for KwaZulu Natal was 3 136. This means the total number of deaths nationally for 18 October 2020 was 18 431. We apologise for this error."

The Minister further noted that recoveries now stand at 635 257 which translates to a recovery rate of 90%.

Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that a recent event at Cape Town's Tin Roof bar has seen 89 positive Covid-19 cases confirmed after attendants, mostly matriculants, were traced back to the Claremont venue.

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An investigation into the event has been kicked off by authorities after a general practitioner contacted other doctors and then the Western Cape health department.

Department head Keith Cloete held a digital briefing on the situation which is a great cause of concern with matric exams fast approaching:

"This is where individual responsible behaviour and collective responsible behaviour comes together."

Cloete explained that there were other places where the young citizens had converged so the team involved is probing the possibility of other 'seeding events'.

Cloete warned that everyone is 'potentially a superspreader' while Premier Alan Winde cautioned young people to be vigilant during the final stretch to the year-end exams:

"Your whole year has been a rough year, but there are a couple of weeks to go, but please make sure we hold the course."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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