The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the Northern Cape has likened the delay in closing schools with positive COVID-19 cases to attempted murder. This as parents in some areas have had to forcefully close schools themselves where positive COVID-19 cases have been identified.

They accuse district officials from the Northern Cape Department of Education of risking the health and safety of their children.

Five Northern Cape schools close due to COVID-19 cases:

Recently the School Governing Body (SGB) of Van Rensburg Primary School in Britstown, had to take the decision to close the school following positive COVID-19 cases. The SGB alleges that their concerns to district officials fell on deaf ears.

SGB chairperson at Van Rensburg Primary School, Elroy Hoppie, says they even went as far as finding their own cleaners and disinfect the school.

“The response from the department was that the SGB must find four people that must clean the school, but we are not supposed to close down the school. On the grounds of what had happened, we decided to close the school as parents because we were concerned about the children, the teachers and the health risk that was in the school.”

Northern Cape experiences a slight increase in COVID-19 admissions:

Swift reaction could save lives

The Sadtu Provincial Secretary, Palesa Nqumashe, says swift reaction in closing schools with positive COVID-19 cases could save lives.

“The officials of the departments who want schools to operate as if it is normal when there are cases reported at schools, they must be taken to task because we take that as attempted murder.”

Provincial Education head of department, Moira Marais, says they initially look at the level of risk.

“In cases where we do find that the districts have been slow, we actually intervene. They are there to support the schools, they are there to manage the panic that arises. The initial thing that needs to be done is to establish the level of risk.”

Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, 11 out of the more than 300 schools with coronavirus infections remained closed.