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Belhar parents, teachers continue fight against the reopening of schools

Pickets have been taking place outside schools throughout the province this week as parents and teachers call for schools to be closed at least until the COVID-19 peak was over.

FILE: Picture: 123rf.

CAPE TOWN - A Belhar mother and community leader said parents and teachers in the area would not back down in their fight demanding that schools be completely shut down.

Pickets have been taking place outside schools throughout the province this week as parents and teachers call for schools to be closed at least until the COVID-19 peak is over.

The Department of Basic Education on Thursday announced revised plans to phase in remaining grades to allow schools to reach normality by August.

Learners in grade 6, 11, and R are now expected to return to school on Monday while other grades will be phased during this month.

Zulfa Hartley on Thursday joined concerned parents and teachers as they took to the streets of Belhar, calling on the Department of Education to shut schools down.

Hartley has three sons, two in high school and a 7-year-old, whom she said was anxious and scared: “He told me, 'mommy I'm too scared to go to school, I don't want to die...I'm too small'. My children have been inside the house since lockdown started, primary school is going to be the worst. how are teachers going to cope?”

Hartley said schools were not being open and transparent enough with parents, because the first time she heard of a positive COVID-19 case at one of her sons' schools was after a learner posted a letter on social media, she believes it was the school's duty to inform parents.”

“My feelings towards this is that I'm really angry and upset, disappointed that the department is exposing our children to this. I will rather have my son repeat a grade than bury him this year.”

She said protests would continue in the Belhar community on Friday morning and resume on Monday.

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