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Many Are Against Schools Reopening

Schools are due to open this month but with the country going through the crisis of the second Covid wave, many are now speaking against schools reopening. A survey done showed that over 50% of adults do not agree with schools reopening.

Schools are due to on 27 January but with the country going through the crisis of the second Covid wave, many are now speaking against schools reopening. 

A survey done by the University of Johannesburg and the Human Science Research Centre showed that at least 53% of adults think schools should not open.

Professor Carin Runciman from the University of Johannesburg said:

Last year in July we faced a very similar circumstance with rising cases and at that time our findings also showed that a majority of adults oppose the reopenings of schools at a time when cases are high and again this is what we are seeing at the moment as most adults are opposing the idea.

19% believe that schools should reopen only for grade 7s and grade 12s. 

Many factors can contribute to parents not wanting their children to return to schools. 

Income

It was also found that people who receive lower incomes are much more likely to oppose the reopening of schools compared to those who receive higher incomes. One must then also think about the types of schools children attend according to their household incomes.

Different schools are able to have different standards and qualities of safety measures in place according to the number of resources they have available.

Race

Responses to whether schools should open are also affected by race.

Through the survey, it was seen that 77% of indian respondents were more likely to oppose while only 37% of white adults opposed the reopening.

Runciman said that this should be unpacked more.

Rural VS Urban Areas

People living in backyards seemed to be the most against schools opening soon when compared to those in urban areas.

If you're living in a small space, it's difficult to maintain social distancing. 

Parents and adults seem to be concerned about children going back to schools due to the possibilities surrounding the virus being spread and being brought from schools to families and communities.

This survey has also highlighted inequalities which exist as one sees wealthier and privileged parents being more open to having schools open due to being confident that schools are able to provide safety.

However, should schools not open, online learning will need to take place which would bring in further issues such as data costs and shortages.

Many South Africans have appealed to government to lower costs or to assist with providing data so that more resources can be available to learners, even those who come from more vulnerable circumstances. 

Learners are expected to adhere to the rotational attendance timetable for the 2021 school year as well.

DBE Minister Angie Motshekga said public schools will spend the next 3 years catching up with the content trimmed from the curriculum. 

With calls for government to shift the school calendar once again and for schools to reopen later, government has still not given further information. The public now awaits rulings concerning the plans of the Department of Basic Education.

The National Coronavirus Command Council is currently in conversations with government on schools reopening.

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