Cape Town- A call has been made for the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) to close schools for a week, for the third-wave peak in Covid-19 infections to pass in the province.
The department said 16 schools requested decontamination last week.
However, WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said this represents only 1% of schools.
As of Friday, there were 1 054 active learner Covid-19 cases in the province. There were additionally 481 active teacher cases.
“Many infections are caused not as a result of being in school, but because of other social settings outside of school. While learners are asked to practise social distancing, the wearing of masks and sanitising at school, we cannot monitor their behaviour outside of school,“ said Hammond.
Provincial ANC education spokesperson Khalid Sayed called for school closures until the Covid-19 peak stabilises in numbers.
“We don’t want a long-term closure because we will have the affluent schools having online learning and the non-affluent schools unable to do online learning. We are saying, let the learners stay at home and have no learning for that period, just to assess the situation and allow it to calm down,” he said.
An educator who asked not to be named, said teachers were burnt out and learners were traumatised.
“Cases are increasing all the time and the WCED is still following outdated protocols, when Delta is a completely different variant that is super infectious. You just need to be in the same room to get it.
“As it is, education is compromised because when teachers are sick with Covid, there's nobody to cover for them for 14 days. Too many children are isolated at different times and there’s no way to catch up with work. Many schools are closing to sanitise, and this is traumatic for learners and educators,” she said.
The Progressive Organisations' Formation Interim secretary, Brian Isaacs, added that should the numbers of infections increase dramatically, schools should be closed.