Pupils safer at schools during COVID-19 third wave, says Basic Education Dept

The Department of Basic Education's Elijah Mhlanga said that it was best for pupils to remain at school where safety measures were in place.

FILE: Grade 7 pupils at a Western Cape primary school on 1 June 2020 sit in class after schools reopened following a national coronavirus lockdown, which started on 27 March 2020. Picture: @WCEDnews/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Amid a COVID-19 third wave, the Department of Basic Education said that pupils were safer at schools than anywhere else.

The department said that it was worried about the impact further disruptions would have on learners.

The Department of Basic Education's Elijah Mhlanga said that closing schools was not the answer.

READ MORE: Gauteng Education not considering closing schools over COVID-19 cases yet

“Closing schools is just a simplistic view. Those who want closure must look into the future and see if these kids can go into a second year of no effective learning. What is going to happen to them?” asked Mhlanga.

He said that it was best for pupils to remain at school where safety measures were in place.

“Outside in the street when schools are closed, there is no control, there's no supervision. The children are playing all day, no one sees what they're doing, they can go get the virus and transfer it to each other,” Mhlanga added.

Mhlanga said that the already shortened curriculum had put pupils under major academic pressure.

“When the parents don't have the ability to teach their children, they are not even able to support them with curriculum work. And because of that, the learning loss itself doubles and multiplies, and kids are left behind,” he said.

He added that parents and adults should take responsibility and limit gatherings as it was unfair for pupils to bear the brunt.

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