'No surprise' as some schools close again

Some of the schools began closing due to either teachers, pupils or a staff member testing positive for Covid-19.
Some of the schools began closing due to either teachers, pupils or a staff member testing positive for Covid-19.
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Parents at schools which had to close this week due to Covid-19 cases feel that government might have reopened the facilities too soon.

Schools opened doors for grade 12 and 7 learners on Monday after long negotiation processes with unions and school governing bodies.

Some of the schools began closing due to either teachers, pupils or a staff member testing positive for Covid-19.

Some of the schools could not even open on the first day as some staff members had already tested positive.

Benoni Rynsoord Primary School is one of the schools that could not open.

Parent Lucky Mkhwane said he had to return home with his child on Monday.

"We had not been informed about anything, so I took my child to school to assess the situation but to my surprise we found a security guard who told us the school would not be opening until further notice," said Mkhwane.

He said taking the children to school was not safe at this point.

"Their lives are more important. Inasmuch as education is also important, the lives of the children can't be sacrificed for education."

Mkhwane said if it was up to him, the department of education should just postpone the academic year until there's a solution to the current crisis.

Another parent Mduduzi Mabuza said he was not shocked with the chaos in schools.

"I think the method was not tested. It was too early to open, we should have expected this to open anyway," Mabuza said.

A number of schools this week wrote to parents, indicating that they should not send their children to school due to infections.

Among them was Savannah Park Secondary School in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, which informed parents on Tuesday that it was closing because a teacher had tested positive.

Bergrivier Hoérskool in Wellington, Western Cape, also had a staff member testing positive and informed parents on Monday about the closure.

Apollo Secondary in Chatsworth, Durban, made a similar announcement after a teacher tested positive.

Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the department of education in the Western Cape, said last week 61 schools reported positive cases of Covid-19.

"It must be noted, that closing a school may not be necessary. It is dependent on when the case was reported. A school can be cleaned over the weekend and thus not affect teaching and learning, or a school may be closed partially, in a specific area. Yesterday [on Wednesday] 15 schools were closed as a result of cleaning," Hammond said.

Western Cape opened its schools on June 1. Before that, there were number of concerns from parents about the safety of children. These concerns compelled government to delay the reopening of schools by a week in order to make sure that all safety protocols were followed.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson of the department of basic education, said numbers of Covid-19 cases in schools had not been collected nationally.

"For now we are getting sporadic information about such incidents. Provinces have not yet give us their totals for us to know the full picture of the situation," Mhlanga said.

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