Contact sport in schools has been suspended with immediate effect, the South African Government announced on Wednesday, 19 May.
The decision was taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a surge in cases in South Africa.
In a press release, government said: “The decision was taken in a virtual meeting held this morning. 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.”
Contact sport was allowed again in 2021 when schools reopened – Basic Education Minister 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 Province were reported and have been gradually increasing in Term 2,” read the statement.
It has become increasingly evident that even though protocols are being followed, contact sports events still contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
“Following the school sports activities related COVID-19 outbreaks in Gauteng 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.”
Government says the Department will continue to monitor the situation and a government gazette will be issued with the notice in the coming days.