- The Public Servants Association has joined the calls for schools to be shut amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- With the number of schools closing due to the virus, the union believes the call to open was premature
- Nevertheless, the Department of Education remains adamant that it was the right decision
The Public Servants Association has joined calls to shut down South African schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes after multiple schools were forced to close after teachers and pupils alike tested positive for the virus.
Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told eNCA that the department stands by its decision to open schools:
"You can't send adults to work and keep expanding sectors to go back to work and you say the kids must stay at home. It doesn't make sense."
The union remains unconvinced, saying that reports of infections this early on is a clear sign the department jumped the gun:
“This trend is sadly only expected to increase and grow worse once more tests are done and learners interact more. Images and videos circulating on social media reflect that schools are not able to maintain physical distancing and fail to use personal protective equipment correctly."
In addition to the physical impact of contracting the virus, the union highlighted the impact on a student's mental well-being:
“Infected learners must be quarantined and those that were in close contact must self-isolate.”
Instead, the union suggested that the academic year should run from October to July, adding that:
“The completion of the 2020 academic year should not be at the cost of the lives of our educators and learners. Families will not cope with the eventualities of learner mortalities related to Covid-19, as the infection rate is expected to reach its peak while our health systems are not ready.”
Briefly.co.za reported that the Educators Union of South Africa has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Minister Angie Motshekga within the next two months or face a complete shutdown of the sector.
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