- South Africa's biggest teachers' union, SADTU, wants schools to close as Covid-19 cases rise
- The union's national executive committee held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the matter
- SADTU said the winter season has also exacerbated the rise of infections so the risk is higher
The South African Democratic Teachers Union has called on the government to close schools nationally as the country braces for the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The call came after a special meeting by the union’s national executive committee to discuss the spread of the virus at schools. The union's secretary general Mugwena Maluleke said its NEC resolved that schools close until the end of the peak
Maluleke said the union had noted that evidence on the ground showed that there was no effective teaching and learning at schools during the current conditions.
The NEC's decision was also informed by the winter season, which has had a negative impact on the rising numbers. News24 reported that Maluleke said "science evolution" had also guided the decision.
He added that while scientific data at first had indicated that children were not susceptible to contracting the virus, this had not been the case at schools across the country.
The union said it was calling on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, through the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, to use the peak period to come up with strategies to curb the spread and save lives.
The Covid-19 infections have been rising across the country. In KwaZulu-Natal alone, 873 teachers, learners and non-teaching staff have contracted the virus.
In the Western Cape, over 300 schools have had to close because of Covid-19 cases.
Schools opened on 8 June for Grade 7 and 12 learners in the country. By the third week of June, more than 500 teachers and learners in the Eastern Cape had contracted the virus.
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that several South African celebrities have also joined the call for the schools to be closed. Entertainment industry veteran Rami Chuene questioned why everyone has to stay at home and yet kids have to go back to school.
Songstress Simphiwe Dana pleaded with government to close schools. She said government is playing 'Russian roulette' with children's lives. Simphiwe believes that the kids are "bringing this virus home".
Actress Mona Monyane also believes that the reopening of schools is a "bad" move.
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