File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Cosas to keep disrupting Cape schools 'until Covid-19 infections under control'

By Athandile Siyo and Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Cape Town – Disruptions at schools will continue until Covid-19 infections among teachers and learners are under control, the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) said.

The organisation last week shut schools in Khayelitsha, and following Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s announcement on Sunday that schools in the area would be open following a meeting with role-players, Cosas said that it would not.

Cosas regional task team member Kwanele Nontsele said they attended the meeting, although they were not invited.

“We will continue with the school shutdown until all schools are closed in this province. All we ask as Cosas is that all learners, teachers and even the non-teaching staff get tested and must be sent for the 14-day quarantine.

“Learners must then go to state camp sites where they will continue with their academic year. On these camp sites, the movements will be limited,” Nontsele said.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Schäfer, together with the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), the Khayelitsha Education Forum and the Khayelitsha Covid-19 Response Task Team convened the meeting to reopen schools.

Schäfer said they had seen the disruption of schooling by community members and civic organisations in the past week.

“These organisations claim to have the safety of teachers and learners at heart. However, it is their own actions that are putting learners and teachers’ lives at risk.

“Video evidence shows people entering schools, and organisations taking learners to the streets, not wearing their masks correctly, nor adhering to physical distancing. In addition, they are denying learners of one of the most fundamental rights in our Constitution, the right to education.”

KDF chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the decision to keep schools open came with the exception that all Covid-19 protocols would be observed.

“If there is any reason or any campaign for schools to be closed, it must be fair. It was resolved that the school governing bodies would oversee all safety protocols, we must understand that Covid-19 is a new normal and as such, we must strictly monitor the safety of all,” he said.

Motshekga separately said her department was not in a position to provide the number of both registered and unregistered early childhood development (ECD) centres.

She was responding in writing to DA MP Désirée van der Walt, who asked about the centres in each province.

Motshekga said there was limited accurate information on ECD delivery. “It is therefore not possible to provide the number of registered and unregistered ECD programmes per province,” she said.

Cape Times

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