Government urged to consider total shutdown of schools

More learners will return to the classroom on Monday, as government continues its phased reopening of schools.

Parents are calling for a total schools shutdown, amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections in the country.

South Africa has a total of 168 061 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 2 844 reported deaths.

COVID-19 IMPACTS SCHOOLS

The numbers include teachers and pupils, who returned to school just as the country entered into Alert Level 3 lockdown at the beginning of June.

#SaveOurChildren, a lobby group made up of parents and allies, has called on the Department of Basic Education to revert back to a total shutdown.

“Schools were impacted,” the group’s Abdul Karriem Mathews is quoted by SABC.

“More than 1 500 teachers became infected. Up to 10 teachers have already died. The mere act of opening the schools in May has led to infections spiking among teachers. Those teachers dying is what we call state-sanctioned murder. Opening other grades, especially grade R, who are expected to wear a mask and sanitise, it’s impossible and absurd to open up the schools.”

Abdul Karriem Mathews

MORE LEARNERS SET TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM

Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced earlier in the week that more grades will resume the school year from Monday after only Grades 7 and12 returned to class last month.

Monday will see Grades R, 6 and 11 joining the other learners, with other Grades set to be phased in at a later stage.

“We will adjust the reopening phases, based on the risk-adjusted strategy, which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to School Reopening, taking into account all factors that affect the work we do,” Motshekga said.

Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education

The gradual reopening of schools has been welcomed in the Western Cape.

“We welcome the differentiated approach to phasing in grades that has been provided for and the ability for schools to adopt a slightly slower phasing in approach should they need to do, so grades R, six and 11 must return to school on Monday while schools may delay the return of the remaining grades scheduled to return next week i.e. one two three and 10,” education MEC Debbie Schafer said.

Debbie Schafer, Western Cape education MEC

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