- South Africa's major teacher unions have unanimously called for the immediate closure of all schools
- The government is currently mulling over its options when it comes to the remainder of the 2020 academic year under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic
- This comes after President Ramaphosa acknowledged the WHO's call for classrooms to remain empty when infections spike
South Africa's teacher unions have submitted a proposal document calling for the immediate closure of all schools as the Covid-19 peak draws ever closer.
In this proposed plan, matric students would return on 17 August, with the rest of the grades subjected to a review on the development of the situation.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will now be in talks with Cabinet over these proposals.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said that a meeting of the Council of Education Ministers was held over the weekend:
“We wish to reiterate that it is the cabinet that will make the decision on whether schools close or remain open."
President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged the increase in pressure to close SA schools after the World Health Organisation issued its views on the hotly debated issue:
“The World Health Organisation has cautioned that in countries where there is still a rise in infections, it would not be wise to reopen schools. There has also been a clear voice and message from teacher unions and we will also listen and engage and we are discussing this matter. In our typical consultative way, we will come up with a way forward on the issue of schools.”
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane thinks it is better to sacrifice the academic year and save lives.
The One South Africa movement has appealed against a judgement by the North Gauteng High Court which set aside Maimane's application to prevent schools from reopening.
This is the second time he has approached the Constitutional Court after his previous attempt was dismissed.
This time he has filed an urgent appeal directly to the Constitutional Court and wants to use new evidence to support his position that schools should remain closed to protect children, staff and others.
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