Temporarily close schools during third wave - Educators' Union of South Africa

The Educators' Union of South Africa believes that schools must be closed temporarily as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic grips the country.

Picture: @ECDOEZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Educators' Union of South Africa believes that schools must be closed temporarily as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic grips the country.

The union's Western Cape chairperson Andre de Bruyn: "There is no safe space in a school at the moment. It's winter, kids get sick, it's very difficult social distance. Our stance is close schools now. We're on the front line, we feel that people are scared."

Last week, the Western Cape Education Department warned that now was not the time to become complacent as officials recorded more than 450 active cases of COVID-19 at schools in the province.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that while these cases were reported by schools, the provincial Health Department indicated that they were linked to social events rather than school attendance, the same pattern seen during the second wave last year.

DEPARTMENT'S STANCE

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, though, said that her department was not insensitive to the concerns raised around rising COVID-19 infections, but schools must remain open.

A number of schools have reported cases among staff and learners across the country over the past week. As of Wednesday, teaching staff will be vaccinated.

The minister said that the department would continue to handle COVID-19 cases according to the differentiated strategy.

"We will continue to use the differentiated approach. If there's any reports of any difficulties, the principals know what to do, the circuits know what to do. But we are also not ruling out the fact that if anytime during the week, advised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee from Health advised by the national command council, we will resist closing schools."

The minister Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga over the weekend announced said that the rollout of school staff vaccinations would start on Wednesday following the arrival of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the country.

Additional reporting by Kaylynn Palm.

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