Covid-19 crisis: Parents upset that Cyril Ramaphosa said nothing about closing schools amid rising cases

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said nothing on Sunday about plans to close schools as the country is expected to enter the third wave of coronavirus infections.

Some education stakeholders have called the return of all primary school pupils a disaster.

Some Durban school governing body (SGB) forums said on Monday that they had hoped the president would touch on the issue of schools as more and more had reported Covid-19 positive cases, with some forced to close for several days to be deep-cleaned.

The Department of Basic Education recently announced the 100% return of all primary school pupils to school from June 26. Clint Leverton, spokesperson of the Wentworth SGB Forum, said he was disappointed that the president chose not to close schools.

“Unlike advantaged schools with all the resources and floor space, most schools in our area and many other public schools do not have the capacity to adhere to Covid-19 regulations such maintaining physical distancing.

“The number of public gatherings has been reduced as well as the number of indoor gatherings, but the government thinks it is okay to have more than 40 pupils crammed into one tiny classroom. It would have been ideal to keep schools open and continue with the rotational system,” said Leverton.

He said parents of pupils at public schools were extremely worried about the safety of their children. The forum would meet later this week to discuss the new developments.

Ebrahim Houston, spokesperson of the Merebank SGB Basin Forum, said although the closure of schools should be avoided as it impacted negatively on the pupils in the classroom, the government should ensure that schools were able to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols.

“The Covid-19 protocols will have to be respected. The 100% return of primary school pupils to schools will be disastrous,“ he said.

The Educators Union of South Africa warned the department to stop obsessing about wanting things to go back to normal and rather focus on building a new system that would be in line with the new normal.

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