South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the Eastern Cape has called on the Provincial Basic Education Department to close all schools in the province saying they’re not prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provincial Secretary for Sadtu Chris Mndingi says most schools still don’t have personal protective equipment (PPEs) and ablution facilities are substandard.
The union’s call comes amidst reports that more than 180 learners at the Makaula Senior Secondary School in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape have tested positive for COVID-19 and it is believed that non-compliance to the COVID-19 regulations is at the root of the cluster-infection.
Mndingi says scores of schools have closed already due to the high coronavirus infection rate, and learners have been threatened not to speak about their positive status.
He says, “We are dealing with a moving target, each and every day there is an increase of infections, some have decided to go quiet about it, and even threaten learners not to speak about it if there is anyone identified to be positive in a school.”
“We are saying as Sadtu, priority at least can be given to grade12. Address all the ills before you bring in any other phases. Because even those that have been compelled to reopen without having met the requirements, hence they’re closing on a daily basis. In one district already 50 schools have closed.”
In the video below, SADTU speaks on schools’ readiness:
Earlier this month, legal expert Saber Ahmed Jazbhay said parents who will be sending their children back to school will be able to sue the State if their child contracts COVID-19 should the school they attend be found not to have been following the necessary protocols and precautionary measures.
Jazbhay said in the event that a child contracts COVID-19 while at school, the State will have to take responsibility.
He adds: “The Minister has said if there is an infection that takes place, they can if there is negligence and whatever that occurs as a result of oversight on the behalf of school authorities, they do have the power and the right to sue…”
The Eastern Cape has recorded 16 895 confirmed COVID-19, 303 people have died from the novel virus in the province.