More than 550 pupils, teachers and support staff have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape, while 154 provincial schools have been temporarily closed, the education department said on Friday.
Provincial education department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said 270 of the infected were pupils, 271 teachers, while 16 were non-teaching staff.
Pulumani warned that the number of schools closed was expected to surpass 154 as only six education department district offices submitted its reports on the impact of Covid-19.
There are a total of 12 district offices in the province in charge of 5 037 schools.
The 557 positive cases were recorded from schools in 10 districts, said Pulumani.
He said the statistics were submitted to the department on Thursday evening.
"The one silver lining of this whole situation is that the screening that takes place in schools ensures that people who are positive are identified early and isolated, thus ensuring that the number of infections are kept in check. Every day at schools there is screening and they keep records unlike at home."
The latest school to close is CM Vellem in Makhanda's Joza Township, after a teacher tested positive for the virus.
Principal AA Ndyolashe told parents in a letter on Thursday that the school would re-open on 30 June.
"We would like to urge pupils to remain at home, wear masks and wash their hands regularly. This is to allow the school to undergo deep cleaning and decontamination to prepare for Tuesday."
Eastern Cape schools have been under the spotlight this week after 204 pupils and staff tested positive at Makaula Secondary School in KwaBhaca.