Frustrations and concerns: Parents demand to inspect ‘sanitised’ schools

Thousands of grade 7 and 12 pupils returned to the classroom on Monday morning after almost three months under national lockdown.

pixabay.com

SOWETO/ CAPE TOWN/ JOHANNESBURG - Parents at Isipho Primary are demanding clarity from the Soweto school on when it was sanitised and how the teachers plan on keeping it clean throughout the school day.

Thousands of grade 7 and 12 pupils returned to the classroom on Monday morning after almost three months under national lockdown.

Despite assurances from the Education Department and the school, some parents are not convinced that the necessary arrangements have been made to protect their children from contracting COVID-19.

On the first day back many grade 7 pupils were either dropped off or walked with their parents to the school gates.

Some parents said they never got the opportunity to be taken through the processes instituted by the school to protect their children.

One parent said Isipho Primary did not send any communication to parents confirming whether the facility has been sanitised.

Another parent said they could sanitise the building once-off and expect the children to be safe.

“If my kids touch a surface that hasn’t be sanitised, then it’s going to be a problem.”

Isipho Primary management said they were willing to allow parents on the school premises after school later on Monday.

Meanwhile, it's week two of back to school for Western Cape's Grade 7s and 12s.

Sixty-six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at schools in the province.

The Western Cape Education Department said 55 schools had been affected.

MEC Debbie Shafer: “If any child has it, they must not come to school. If your child is showing any symptoms of COVID-19, please keep them at home. We currently have 66 staff members that have been affected from 55 different schools.”

She added that schools in the Cape were ready, however, 11 schools would not open on Monday because of contamination issues as they had COVID-19 infections.

Shafer also added that two schools were also closed because of water supply.

Secretary-General of the South African Democratic Teachers Union Mugwena Maluleke said they were still concerned about schools that were still not ready.

“Our children have to share textbooks and we are asking what is going to happen to those pupils in terms of replenishing sanitisers because schools may have sanitisers now but there is no guarantee that they will in the next two to three weeks.”

He was also worried about learner transport: “In terms of the public transport that the learners have been using, that has not been answered. They say there have been talks with the minister and transport authorities but we know that those things have not happened.”

COMPLIANCE IN LIMPOPO

The Limpopo Education Department said it was still checking compliance at 44 schools in the province.

The department said the facilities were not fully equipped with water and sanitation yet.

Spokesperson Tidimalo Choene said: “It is still work in progress for those schools and our service providers are still working. We are monitoring each case and the principle still remains that no schools open if it is not ready.”