While fierce debate continues over whether to close schools again in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DA says teachers are no different from thousands of other workers who have already reported for duty.
The DA, like several other organizations, submitted a submission to Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa done on why they think schools should stay open.
According to the DA, the possibility of infection is facing the country’s workforce every day and they must deal with the health and safety measures, as well as their colleagues’ anxiety and the chance that the workplace can be closed for disinfection, every day.
“Teachers need to realize that thousands of other South Africans are already back at work and dealing with the daily challenges of the virus that will be a part of our reality for months to come.”
The DA says teachers obviously need all possible support to deal with a difficult situation.
“However, if teachers do not return to work, we do not believe the taxpayer should continue to pay for them to stay at home. Now that the isolation has been partially lifted, civil servants who can must return to work.
“Their medical risk is the same as any other profession and there should be no special dispensation for teachers.”
In its submission, the DA also says research shows children’s vulnerability to Covid-19 is very low; even less than their vulnerability to influenza.
“The need for them to go to school is the most important, especially in a developing country as we say.”
The DA says that unlike in the developed world, online classes for most South African children are not a realistic substitute for classroom learning. Internet access is poor and unequal and many children, and even teachers, are not internet literate. Access to data is also a problem.
Many learners also rely on schools’ nutrition programs to provide them with a balanced meal daily. Schools are also a place where children can spend a productive day and socialize.
“The longer schools remain closed, the greater the chance that learners will have to repeat the academic year.”
According to the DA, it is in the interest of the whole community that schools remain open. At the economic level, schools provide the skills that society needs and at the social level it teaches children to integrate properly with the world.
The party says instead of causing further anxiety, the education sector should be supported.
“The DA once again appeals to few. [Angie] Motshekga and pres. [Cyril] Ramaphosa to stand firm on schools and not succumb to political pressure. “