- The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association has expressed deep concern over the reopening of schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- The MKMVA has called on the government to reconsider this move as infections continue to spike in South Africa
- The veterans association insists that continuing to open classrooms ahead of peak infections 'is not wise at all'
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The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association says that it is 'deeply concerned' over the Department of Basic Education's decision to continue opening SA schools.
In a statement issued by the association in April ahead of the first batch of students returning, the group had voiced its view that the government was placing a 'burden on teachers to enforce the impossible' in classrooms, something it felt was unfair.
Now, with the next batch of pupils returning and the plan for all students to return in place, the MKMVA has called for the government to urgently reconsider its stance:
"Under these circumstances, it is our sincere, and considered, conviction that it is not wise at all to continue with the reopening of schools. We fear that schools and learners will become conduits for spreading the coronavirus - not only endangering the lives of learners but also placing parents, fellow siblings, and extended families as well as the broader community at risk."
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While the association does not doubt Minister Angie Motshekga's sincerity, it highlighted the importance of preserving every possible life during the pandemic:
"As much as we are concerned about the education of our children and their futures, we are far more concerned about them unnecessarily being put at risk, and their lives being endangered when schools are opened."
Briefly.co.za reported that the department had opted to close schools when infections were comparatively low ahead of the national lockdown.
With cases rising rapidly ahead of the expected peak later this year, over 770 schools have been affected by outbreaks since the first two grades returned to the classroom.
The second batch of students returning has doubled the number of students in schools with plans in place for this to rise over the course of the next two months.
Motshekga has faced immense pressure from unions, politicians and concerned citizens to shut schools down until the virus is under control.
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