Schools Are Not Superspreader Sites and Should Stay Open - Equal Education
With cases growing by over 10 000 every day and with Gauteng already exhausted by the third wave, will schools be closing again? The Congress of South African Students and other stakeholders have called for this to take place with other organisations, such as Equal Education, taking the opposite view.
Many are now calling for schools to close as some provinces suffer under the third wave. It is then shocking when we see Equal Education, a non-profit organisation advocating for equality within education, supporting schools staying open.
The organisation says this view is based on surveys which were done by the National Institution of Communicable Diseases (NICD) which showed that schools aren't sites for spreading Covid.
Noncedo Madubedube from Equal Education said:
Just about 100 of the 25 000 schools in the country have been disrupted during this year, as from January to June, as per Covid so it looks like overwhelmingly clear that schools aren't superspreader sites and schools do maintain a place of safety.
Another reason behind them believing schools should stay open is the school feeding scheme which some learners depend on for their daily meal. Learners also have access to support, transport and teacher mediating learning.
Equal Education has also heard from learners who have showed concern with some only attending school one day a week.
The Department of Basic Education and it's Minister, Angie Motshekga, has made it clear that schools will stay open.
Motshekga said, "The position is that we continue to handle COVID cases according to the differentiated strategy, on a province-by-province, school-by-school basis."
The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) is now calling for schools to close saying that the department's insistence to keep schools open shows that they don't care about learners.
Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare, agreed with these students and said:
We need to be closing schools… We need a form of lockdown… People need to self-regulate… It’s an agonising disease!
Equal Education also spoke on the teacher vaccination rollout:
It's crucial that teachers are prioritised for jabs in the next couple of weeks with the vaccination programme for over 582 000 school staff in South Africa. We think it's a good plan. We are also happy with the fact that there is a prioritisation for this process to run before the start of the second quarter.
They say this will prepare them for the full-time return we'll see at the beginning of the third term which is being done to make up the learning losses since 2021.
The organisation says they will monitor this process to ensure that vaccinations can be accessed and that it's equitable.
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