Cape Town teachers and concerned parents picket against the reopening of schools on the busy M5 highway. Photo: Facebook/Riedewaan Gaffoor
Cape Town teachers and concerned parents picket against the reopening of schools on the busy M5 highway. Photo: Facebook/Riedewaan Gaffoor

Cape Town teachers and parents picket in traffic against reopening of schools

By Chad Anthony Williams Time of article published Jun 25, 2020

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Cape Town - Concerned teachers and parents staged a picket on the corner of Joe Marks Boulevard and Prince George Drive (M5) in Cape Town on Thursday morning in protest against what they see as the premature reopening of schools at the height of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Schools sent out a communiqué about the picket through social media on Wednesday, calling on parents, teachers and supporters to voice their concerns about the health and safety of children that they say is being compromised.

In recent days, there have been growing calls for the school academic year to be suspended.

A group of high school and primary school principals have written an open letter to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and President Cyril Ramaphosa to object to the phased reopening of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The principals from Steenberg High School, Floreat Primary School, Athlone High School and Heathfield High School listed theirs, their staff members’ and pupils’ growing safety concerns about their return to classrooms, reported IOL.

In an interview on Cape Town’s Heart FM radio station on Wednesday, the principal of Heathfield High School, Wesley Neuman, and a collective of principals on the south peninsula called on the government to review its decision to reopen schools.

At the picket, demonstrators could be seen holding up signs reading, “Our children's lives matter”, “Rather miss a grade than dig a grave” and “Teachers' lives matter”.

Cape Town teachers and concerned parents picket against the reopening of schools on the busy M5 highway. Photo: Facebook/Riedewaan Gaffoor

The next phase of schools reopening is scheduled to take place next month, which will see a number of primary and high school pupils return to the classroom.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said her department was working hard to ensure that everything is ready for those pupils who will return on July 6.

Most schools in South Africa reopened for Grade 7 and 12 pupils on June 8. The reopening had been postponed by a week because schools were not ready.

Schools in the Western Cape, however, reopened their doors for Grade 7 and 12 pupils as planned on June 1. The Western Cape MEC for Education, Debbie Schäfer, defended her decision, saying Motshekga had gazetted June 1 as the date for resuming classes.

African News Agency (ANA)

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