- Children face many challenges at home and their mental and psychological wellbeing improves at school
- Prof Mignon McCulloch, head of paediatrics at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, spoke about schools reopening
- The risk of transmission from pupils is very low and as a result, the risk of spreading Covid-19 is low
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Prof Mignon McCulloch has revealed that children's mental and psychological wellbeing improves greatly when they are at school as opposed to staying at home. She is the head of paediatrics at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.
Many children face issues at home and are better off at school, their emotional and educational are better catered for in a school setting.
“Looking at all the available evidence at the moment, we feel that there are huge advantages in getting kids back to school. This virus could be with us for a very long time and so we want to get our kids educated and get them back to school,” she said.
She was speaking about the opening of schools in the Western Cape along with Western Cape premier Alan Winde, education MEC Debbie Schäfer, provincial education head Brian Schreuder and head of health Keith Cloete.
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“There is a little bit glimmer of good news in that children seem to be affected less and they transmit less than adults do,” she said.
Pupil transmission of Covid-19 is low according to the information at hand and are therefore less likely to spread the disease.
“We know that they transmit less. Not only do they transmit less from child to child, but we know that they transmit less to adults. This is obviously something that makes teachers feel anxious - are they going to get this virus from the children they are teaching?” she said.
“We know on the whole this is not the case. Adults are much more receptive or prone to getting this virus from their communities or from colleagues, including where they shop [and] the taxis they travel [in].”
Schools are better able to educate poorer children who are not able to access online learning. Teachers are also better able to address anxiety in children according to TimesLive.
“Teachers need to portray positivity to children while they are managing their own anxieties,” he said.
“Learners in poorer communities are reliant on in-class teaching to receive their education. The longer schools are closed, the more they are disadvantaged. The gap will only grow between those learners who cannot access education via digital alternatives at home, in our poorer communities in the main, and those who can and do,” she said.
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