Calls mounting for WC schools to shut down as COVID-19 infections rise

On Thursday, scores of concerned teachers and parents gathered, saying that the reopening of schools was premature.

Protesters call for the closure of schools as COVID-19 infection increase. The protest took place in Retreat on 25 June 2020. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Calls are mounting for schools in the Western Cape to be closed as COVID-19 infections continue to rise.

On Thursday, scores of concerned teachers and parents gathered, saying that the reopening of schools was premature.

They said that schools should only open once the COVID-19 peak had passed.

The group of principals who organised the demonstrations yesterday have also penned a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa explaining their concerns.

Principal at Athlone High School, Vincent Hendricks, said that safety concerns were intensifying as more grades were expected to return to school in the next two weeks. This means that staff will be spread very thin and it would be challenging to maintain hygiene protocols.

"At the moment our matrics are spread over eight classrooms but to have them here, as well as the grade 10s and 11s, we are going to have a mammoth task."

The Western Cape Education Department has sent an official to the affected schools to assist them with the management of the crisis.

Chairperson at the Bishop Lavis Action Community, Rodney Zeeberg, claimed that they had shut down at least two schools which were not complying with hygiene protocols this week.

"We say it is totally unsafe for our working-class children to attend school to come back to very vulnerable communities where most of the people have co-morbidities."

The Congress of South African Students is also continuing to shut down schools, saying it is unsafe for learners.

They protested at schools in Khayelitsha yesterday.

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