- Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has made it clear that the department 'cannot guarantee' the safety of school children
- This comes after the politician announced that Grade 7 and 12 students would be heading back to school on 1 June
- Motshekga took exception to people insinuating that the department was being reckless
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has told South Africa that she cannot guarantee the safety of every single school child when it comes to contracting Covid-19.
In addition to this, Motshekga took exception to those who hinted that the department was being reckless with the plan to reopen schools amid the pandemic.
The minister says that the virus should never have happened, but her department was doing its best to take the necessary precautions.
Life, despite the outbreak, must continue, explained Motshekga in response to agitating questions over the safety of students and protective measures.
The minister explained that the longer schools remained closed, the higher the risk was of students never returning.
Motshekga also pointed out that parents who wished to keep their children out of school until they are satisfied the coast is clear are welcome to do so, pointing out that the law made provision for homeschooling:
“Guaranteeing [whether or not] people are safe — it is a very difficult one. We are doing everything in our power to protect everyone. It is not as if we are so cruel that we would just lead people to death. Why should they die — what did they do? What we are working on is to put all the necessary safety measures in place. As to whether one will be in a car accident going to work or such guarantees, I cannot [say]."
As stressful as the situation is, Motshekga assured the public the decision to reopen was in the best interests of the nation:
“Imagine saying we will wait for coronavirus even if it ends in 2022 because we cannot make guarantees. It is not possible. That is why we have opened the economy in Level 3, which is not because we are certain there will not be infections. The reality is that life must go on. I cannot stand here tonight and say, 'I put my head on the block — nobody is going to die.' I cannot do that. But we will try our best to have everyone safe.”
Briefly.co.za reported that Motshekga has confirmed the first batch of students will be back in the classroom on 1 June.
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