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More than 100,000 sign Mmusi Maimane's petition against reopening schools

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane launched a petition against the reopening of schools.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane launched a petition against the reopening of schools.
Image: Twitter/Mmusi Maimane

More than 100,000 citizens have signed One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane's petition which seeks to challenge the government's decision to reopen schools on June 1, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The online petition was launched on Tuesday after basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that schools would be opened in a staggered fashion, with grade 7 and 12 pupils returning on June 1.

On Thursday, Maimane said his priority and that of his movement is ensuring the safety of pupils, teachers and staff. He also added “this petition is not the end of the road. We are keeping all options open for the sake of our kids, relatives and communities.”

In the petition, Maimane laments that reopening schools may undo the work done during the lockdown.

“We maintain that opening schools at this stage poses a risk and danger on all students, teachers and support staff as all credible indicators suggest that infections have not yet peaked.

“We cannot risk allowing our country's places of learning to become petri dishes for increase in infections which may undo the value of the national lockdown.”  

The minister said the rest of the academic calendar, which will indicate opening and closing dates as well as breaks, would be gazetted “soon”. 

While Motshekga said there is no guarantee that all pupils will be safe, she said the  government was making all necessary provisions.

“The department entered into an implementation protocol agreement with the department of human settlements, water and sanitation, and Rand Water. We will ensure that no school goes without water. Just-in-time delivery will be made.”

Children, teachers and staff will receive training on Covid-19.

“Arrangements are in place. All learners, educators and support staff will receive orientation and training at the start of the school reopening, commencing with grades 7 and 12.”

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