Possible Delay In Reopening Of Schools

Reports have been circulating about the government considering to delay the reopening of schools, however, the DA wishes to find some clarity from the DBE.

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) asks that Angie Motshekga clarify whether the government is considering reopening schools in February rather than 27 January 2021.

The DA opposes this decision as they believe that such a delay will negatively affect the 2021 academic year. The delay will put a lot more pressure on the teachers to teach their syllabus at a faster pace, which will not be beneficial to the learners.

Currently, the country is experiencing the second wave of COVID-19 and opening schools might compromise the health of teachers and learners, which is why the DA requests that teachers be added to the essential frontline workers category.

By adding them to the frontline workers, they will be considered after the healthcare workers and at-risk people of South Africa for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Teachers spend Monday to Friday with millions of children which is why they too should be prioritised for the vaccination.

According to the DA, vaccination of teachers is the only way to protect schools in the country.

The DA requests that the Department of Basic Education prioritise a clear plan for the distribution of vaccines not only for teachers but learners too.

Clear communication of regulations is also requested from the DBE, which need to specify the conditions under which schools will open. These regulations need to be included:

  1. The proper implementation of social distancing protocols at schools.
  2. Access to safe PPE, clean water, and proper sanitation.
  3. An emergency health plan at all schools in response to positive cases.
  4. Clear plans for those teachers or learners who suffer from comorbidities.

If any school is unable to adhere to these regulations, they should contact the DBE for assistance in accessing the necessary equipment needed to ensure a safe reopening.

By delaying the reopening of schools, learners from poorer communities could be negatively impacted since they may not have access to online learning resources.

Many parents and guardians have started returning to work after the December break, which is why they need the assurance that schools will reopen on the scheduled date. 

For many children, school is the place that provides them with safety and security while their parents or guardians are at work. Some often rely on schools to provide them with daily meals through the school nutrition programme.

"Schools simply must open as planned as further delays could be catastrophic to vulnerable children and disruptions to the 2021 academic year can have serious effects on learners’ development and ability to later access economic and employment opportunities," says the DA.

The DA believes that vaccination is the only way to assure the country returns to normality, which is why they intend on fighting for the vaccination of South Africans.

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