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DBE must first deal with current COVID-19 outbreak at schools - teacher unions

From next week, additional grades are expected to resume the academic year despite the soaring numbers of infections across schools in the country.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Teacher unions have again lambasted the Department of Basic Education (DBE)'s phased reopening of schools and have called on the department to deal with the current outbreak before welcoming more pupils.

From next week, additional grades are expected to resume the academic year despite the soaring number of infections across schools in the country.

Briefing Parliament's Education committee on Tuesday, the department announced that there were 775 schools affected by COVID-19.

At least 523 pupils have tested positive while 1,169 staff members have also contracted the virus.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s Mugwena Maluleke said that with the growing infections in the school community, the next phase of the department's plan must be reconsidered.

“With the rising numbers in communities in terms of the COVID-19 virus, it is time now to review the regulations that suggest that more grades be introduced in the schools. The education system might find itself very overloaded and that is not going to be good in terms of contributing towards curbing the spread of the virus in our country.”

National Teacher’s Union’s Alan Thompson said that schools had barely been able to cope since the return of grade 7 and matric pupils.

“They are neglecting everything that we have agreed upon. As a result, schools are becoming the new epicentre for the propagation of infections. Now we are asking ourselves if more grades are brought back, what is going to happen to the education system?”

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