Parents in the Northern Cape say that the Department of Education also “needs to get its house in order before it reopens the schools”.
PARENTS in the Northern Cape have welcomed the call for the reopening of schools to be postponed to February 15.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has proposed that the reopening of schools be delayed and that they not open on January 27.
The NCCC indicated that the current surge in Covid-19 cases would hopefully have declined by the time children and teaching staff return to the classroom on the proposed date in mid-February.
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, is set to host a briefing on Friday on the state of readiness for the reopening of schools for the new academic year.
Parents, who are worried about the increase in Covid infections the country is currently experiencing in the second wave, have meanwhile welcomed the proposed postponement.
“The Department of Health has recently reported that the number of infections has increased dramatically during the festive season. The number of infections has since not decreased and we hear every day of how so many people are dying from the coronavirus. Further information has also revealed that more young people are now being infected with the virus,” said a concerned city parent on Thursday.
“We parents were all horrified when we had to send our children back to school last year after the schools had been closed for months during the hard lockdown. There were even some parents who opted to home school their children as they feared that their children might get infected.
“We are now in the second wave of the pandemic and we need to protect our children. We need to address this matter and educate ourselves on how the virus changes before we expose our children by sending them back to school”
Parents also said on Thursday that the Department of Education “needs to get its house in order before it reopens the schools”.
“There were so many schools in the Northern Cape that closed due to Covid-19. There were also many teachers and learners who were infected with the virus. Some schools did not have any personal protective equipment for teachers and learners and others even lacked basic services such as water and proper sanitation. Those matters first need to be rectified before children go back to school,” the parents said.
“This virus requires one to practise very strict basic hygiene in order to protect yourself. Teachers and learners will not be able to protect themselves without the proper supply of water. We cannot have schools continuously closing when we already have to start the academic year later.”
The majority of parents also indicated that online schooling was not an option.
“Although we will now have to start the academic year later, this should not result in others pushing for online schooling. We experienced last year how online learning only benefited some learners but not those who do not have access to the internet and other resources.,”
They added that private schools should support the call to delay the reopening of schools.
“We acknowledge that private schools do not have the same number of learners in a class as public schools. However, this is not a fight against class, but a fight against keeping our families safe. Those teachers at private schools are also part of communities and share the same public spaces with everyone. They are also exposed and at risk of contracting the virus.”