It's risky to keep schools open in third wave
The department of basic education (DBE) has taken a decision that learners should go back to school on a full-time basis, starting from the third term.
Minister Angie Motshekga says learners are safe at school. Are they? Interestingly, most provinces (Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN) are officially in the third wave of the pandemic. Not only that, Covid-19 is also affecting learners in numbers. As a result, schools are closing every day due to the high infection rate.
So, when Motshekga says learners are safe at school, what does she mean? As I write this letter, there are four schools closed in Krugersdorp due to Covid-19 cases. (Some of these schools are closing for the third time in a space of three weeks).
Another one is also closed in Luipaardsvlei. If my memory serves me well, Motshekga cited the same reason (that learners are safe at school) last year. But the teacher unions disagreed with her and pushed for schools to remain closed until the spread of the virus was under control. The minister eventually obliged.
Even this time around, I expected teacher union Sadtu to oppose the DBE decision. Instead, it is pushing for the government to vaccinate teachers. Nothing wrong there. However, we've just entered the third wave. That means we are still going to have more cases.
That said, I find it interesting that Sadtu is pushing for teachers to be vaccinated but is ignoring the vaccination of learners. Are they (learners) immune from the Covid-19 virus? Or the teacher union does not care about our kids?
Remember, the virus is infecting more learners than teachers this time around. The DBE's decision that learners go back to school on a full-time basis is irrational. The lives of learners and teachers are precious and important. Therefore, they should continue to attend on a rotational basis.
Thabile Mange, Mogale City