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COVID-19: SAUS criticises some education facilities for not protecting students

Institutions opened their doors to 33% of their student population, mainly those in their final year and those studying medicine who've been on the frontline across government hospitals.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has criticised some educational institutions for failing to protect students.

Institutions opened their doors to 33% of their student population, mainly those in their final year and those studying medicine who've been on the frontline across government hospitals.

While the country grapples with a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the union's Thabo Shingange said he was not convinced institutions would be able to contain the virus.

“While the country grapples availing PPEs to hospitals, we have final year students who are part and parcel of that curriculum and have to be involved and engaged practically with these clinics and hospitals. They too are compromised; their health is compromised and don’t have any form of health insurances as opposed to your employed health workers. They are merely students in that regard.”

According to data released by universities South Africa in July, at least 22 people including staff and students died after contracting COVID-19.

Spokesperson Ahmed Bawa said: “There have been cases of COVID-19 identified in most universities in South Africa and that is expected because universities are so porous. But all the reports that we have at the moment is that these are reports we’ve had as universities and together with the Department of Health, where there are suspicious cases, tests are being carried out.”

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