PSC raises concerns over schools’ compliance with COVID-19 protocols

The PSC said many other schools around the country were unable to meet the minimum requirements for hygiene and social distancing.

Michael Seloane, the commissioner for the Public Service Commission. Picture: @OPSC_SA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Service Commission (PSC) on Wednesday said it would meet with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to consider closing schools, at least in the Eastern Cape, after almost 200 pupils and teachers tested positive for COVID-19 at a single school.

The PSC said that many other schools around the country were unable to meet the minimum requirements for hygiene and social distancing, even with the low number of pupils who were now back in the classroom.

“We are concerned that some of the schools in the Eastern Cape have to be closed because a number of learners are found to be positive,” said PSC commissioner Michael Seloane.

Seloane painted a grim picture of COVID-19 compliance in schools. He said that pupils in some schools continued to share books like they did prior to the pandemic even though the DBE said that the practice would stop.

Schools in urban areas had water, but in the rural areas some did not, and many primary schools were still using pit latrines.

“Which would compromise basic hygiene standards and general compliance with COVID-19 requirements,” Seloane said.

The PSC commissioner said that the issue of officials who were older than 60 and deemed vulnerable to the virus had not received attention in some schools.

“This brought anxiety amongst those concerned as they were not sure how to handle the matter,” he said.

The PSC said the Department of Basic Education would have to make some tough calls soon.

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