Schools closure not the only option to deal with COVID-19: Professor Mary Metcalfe

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Education expert, Professor Mary Metcalfe, says closing schools is not the only option of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Angie Motshekga will meet with the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday ahead of her expected announcement this week on whether she will keep schools open amid concerns of the high coronavirus infection rate in the country.

On Friday, she had consultations with teachers’ unions who have been at the forefront of calls for schools to close. Motshekga met with Cabinet on Sunday.

Grades three and 10 are expected to return to school on Monday.

Metcalfe says all senior leadership in education need to seek other options.

Metcalfe says, “We can’t suspend all of schooling for the next 18 months. But we have to make sure that each school is safe, that it is led by a school management team and a school governing body, working with the community, confidently saying we’ve assessed the local levels of transmission, we’ve assessed our readiness, we are on the same page.”

Currently, South Africa is amongst the top five countries with high infection rate of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world.

On Sunday, South Africa recorded 13 449 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation’s total cases to 364 328.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says 85 new COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded since Sunday, bringing the nation’s total fatalities to 5 033.

The video below discusses the opening of schools during COVID-19