It is important that the number of cases of the coronavirus is seen in schools in perspective, says the South African Teachers Union (SAOU) and he does not think the situation currently requires extraordinary action.
The Department of Basic Education said in a statement on Saturday that more than 1,000 teachers and more than 500 pupils had been tested positive for the coronavirus over the past three weeks.
1 141 teachers and 523 pupils were tested positive and 775 schools were temporarily closed and re-opened after disinfection.
Principals are encouraged to ensure that the health protocols for managing the virus are strictly adhered to.
“Schools are an integral part of society and a reflection of the community. Schools, as well as clinics, police stations, shops, mines, and other frequently visited places also had to close and reopen, ”the statement reads.
“This is in response to infections identified during the screening process and is in line with the health protocol on how to treat an environment that may have been disinfected.”
SAOU CEO Chris Klopper says everyone will have to learn to live with the virus.
“It will be with us for at least the next three to four years. Without being reckless, infection can be minimized if everyone, young and old, does the right thing. But it can never be eliminated.
“The 1 000 educators are only 0.025% of the total and do not justify extraordinary actions. We are not unsympathetic, but it does not require crisis action. “Again, it is important that reasonable measures are taken to eventually isolate them and provide the necessary support,” he says.
“The 700 schools represent 2.8% of schools. The current approach is to close schools for a day or two. It is therefore not necessary to lose extraordinarily long teaching time.
“We will not be able to stop disruptions, or rather interruptions. We must act responsibly and take reality into account. Schools will have to learn to view interruptions as an integral part of the new normal. Many schools have already developed a model that alternates between formal and online education, ”says Klopper.
Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel says the union is concerned about the numbers, but it should also be taken into account that it is the total number of cases since schools reopened on June 8 and that it does not reflect the current situation.
Manuel says they hope Angie Motshekga, the minister of basic education, is studying the figures carefully.
“We have never asked for the summary closure of schools, but we have always indicated that schools can only reopen if it is safe and everything is in place.
“At this stage, we hope the minister and her advisers will study the figures and, if we are on our way to the peak of the outbreak in South Africa as scientists predict, there will be rationality.
“Would it be wise to move the holiday earlier and keep it now and reopen after the peak? We also believe there needs to be flexibility when we reach highlights. ”
Manuel says schools cannot be open at all costs, but the decision must be in the best interests of parents and pupils.
“Even just a statement in this regard will do a lot to calm people, because teachers are anxious. The anxiety is also among parents and children, especially high school students. We are looking for clear leadership from the department that should indicate how we will move forward, ”he says.
Pupils in Gr. 1 to 3, gr. 6, Art. 10 and gr. 11 returns on July 6 and pupils in gr. 4, Art. 5, Art. 8 and gr. 9 will return on August 3rd. Schools that comply with Covid-19 regulations may deviate from these dates.
The Pretoria High Court reserved judgment in Mmusi Maimane and its motion, One South Africa, on June 18 to set aside the decision to reopen schools.
Education Department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga says the decision to reopen schools is not being reconsidered at this stage.
• The prevalence of confirmed Covid-19 cases in school communities by province is as follows:
• Northern Cape: Nine teachers and one pupil have been tested positive for the virus over the past three weeks; Eleven schools were temporarily closed and reopened after disinfection.
• Mpumalanga: Eight teachers, seven pupils; 10 schools • Limpopo: Ten teachers, three pupils; three schools
• North West: 22 teachers, six pupils; 14 schools
• Free State: 13 teachers, 31 pupils; 12 schools
• Eastern Cape: 271 teachers, 270 pupils; 154 school
• Gauteng: 188 teachers, 58 pupils; 176 school
• KwaZulu-Natal: 63 teachers, 13 pupils; 63 school
• Western Cape: 557 teachers; 134 pupils; 332 school.