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Covid-19 has claimed 89 lives at higher learning institutions, 1 979 others tested positive

Covid-19 has claimed 89 lives at higher learning institutions, 1 979 others tested positive

Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 80 people at higher education institutions.

Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 80 people at higher education institutions.

  • A total of 89 people in the higher learning sector have died from Covid-19 and 1 979 people tested positive. 
  • Minister Blade Nzimande revealed that 44 of the deaths were university employees, nine were university students, 11 TVET College students and 25 TVET College staff members.  
  • The total number of positive Covid-19 cases reported by institutions stood at 1 979. 

Institutions of higher learning have lost 89 people to Covid-19, with at least 1 979 people testing positive. 

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande revealed that 44 of the fatalities were university employees, nine were students, 11 TVET College students and 25 TVET College staff members.  

“The total number of positive Covid-19 cases reported by institutions is 1 979. Of these 1 215 are staff and 764 are students,” he said.

A total of 245 652 students were issued with permits to come onto campuses for teaching, learning and research purposes.

READ | International students wanting to return to SA must undergo Covid-19 tests

This amounted to 40% of the contact student population.

“On a daily basis, 70 815 individual staff and students were screened entering university campuses between 8 and 22 September. The number of daily screenings is also linked to the management of activity on campuses.

Occupancy

“In addition, we will now be able to move to a 50% occupancy of rooms up to a maximum of 250 persons indoors at a time, with ventilation of rooms remaining critical. We will also allow the hosting of side gatherings up to 500 people at a time,” Nzimande promised. 

Nzimande said they had capacitated all institutions with a combined 13 000 frontline staff that would assist with the Covid-19 response on a daily basis.

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“Furthermore, over 3 200 student and staff volunteers have been trained and capacitated to participate in implementing Covid-19 daily screening, prevention, and education initiatives.

“To date, they have been trained through scientific knowledge to recognise and appropriately manage [the] Covid-19 pandemic within our post school education and training sector.  

“… the Higher Health daily HealthCheck and the issue of daily ‘health passports’ to every student, staff and stakeholder entering our campuses, assisted our sector with the identification of moderate to high risk individuals and their referral for appropriate follow-up care,” said Nzimande.

To date, over five million screenings had been administered since the launch of HealthCheck. 

“Over 1.6 million students and staff, across the sector, have been using HealthCheck on a routine basis, before entering the campuses. Higher Health has also introduced a 24-hour dedicated toll free, student mental health support service run by experienced psychologists, social workers, counsellors with support from SA Depression and Anxiety Group.  

“The service supports all our students and campus communities on mental health challenges, survivors of gender-based violence and other psychosocial health challenges due to Covid-19,” said Nzimande.

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