Concerns over poor quality masks at schools, parents call for shutdown

Concerns over poor quality masks at schools, parents call for shutdown

- Parents have criticised the Gauteng Department of Education for allegedly sending poor quality masks to schools

- Parents have called for shutdown of schools until learners get PPE that meet WHO standards

- The National Association of Parents in School Governance has lambasted Motshekga for risking the lives of children

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The Gauteng Department of Education has come under fire for allegedly distributing masks that do not comply with the standards of the National Department of Health and the World Health Organization.

Parents have raised concerns over the safety of their children at schools and other have called for a shutdown of schools until the issue of personal protective equipment (PPE) is sorted.

Schools in the country were supposed to open on 1 June for Grade 7 and 12 learners and there was a delay, resulting in schools opening on 8 June.

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Last week Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that 95% of schools were ready to receive learners after the delay to ensure that all schools had PPE.

The Gauteng Education Department says it is engaging with the Gauteng Department of Health to establish the procurement process of the masks that have been distributed to some schools.

The department spokesperson Steve Mabona said:

"The Department of Health is responsible for procuring the masks and any other PPE that we would have received from them. So we just give them the budget but as the department, we received masks and we have raised the concern that the quality of some of the masks."

Mabona added that they would check on the service providers that have been utilised to procure some of the questionable masks. He added that the conversation has already begun with the Gauteng Department of Health.

The National Association of Parents in School Governance has called for the immediate shut down of schools that do not have the necessary PPE.

The association has lambasted Motshekga, accusing her of disregarding the lives of children.

Some schools have allegedly invested in tunnel sanitisers despite experts warning of their danger and ineffectiveness.

Epidemiologist and Chair of Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s Covid-19 advisory committee, Salim Abdool Karim, has warned that the tunnels pose a danger to human health and should not be permitted.

31 schools have already closed in the Eastern Cape after 20 people tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. In KwaZulu-Natal, three schools have also been closed after teachers tested positive.

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