The government has placed a halt on contact sports.
- School contact sports are suspended until further notice.
- The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa advised schools to suspend contact sports, pending a government gazette notice.
- The department said the gazette would be issued in the coming days.
The Department of Basic Education on Wednesday moved to suspend all contact sports at schools due to cluster outbreaks linked to sporting activities in Gauteng.
In the statement, it said that, despite protocols and various government gazettes outlining safety measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 during contact sports, it was evident that it was not working.
“Following the school sports activities related Covid-19 outbreaks in Gauteng and the 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,” said the department.
“In this regard, all close-contact sporting activities have been suspended with immediate effect, until the cluster outbreaks are over, with no further cases reported, including preparatory school sport,” it added.
So, what is considered a contact sport?
According to a list of school sport priority codes – sent out by the department – and which is endorsed by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, the following sports are classified as contact sports:
- Water polo
- Basketball – Semi-contact
- Baseball – Semi-contact
- Football – Semi-contact
- Hockey – semi-contact
- Netball – semi-contact
- Softball – semi-contact
The department said non-contact sports training could continue, provided all physical distancing and hygiene measures were followed and there was no physical contact between participants.
“In 2021, after the reopening of schools and consultation with education stakeholders, the DBE gazetted directions allowing non-contact sport, sports-related activities and school-based art and cultural activities to resume without spectators, subject to adherence of safety measures,” said the department.
Meanwhile, the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa said it had consulted with the department on the matter.
“ISASA has advised that schools suspend all contact sports, pending publication of the notice in the government gazette, which will give legal effect to the contents of the press statement about the suspension of contact sport at schools.”
The department is expected to issue a government gazette in the coming days.