Five Boland governing bodies want schools closed over Covid-19 fears
The Dalweide Primary, William Lloyd Primary, Magnolia Primary, Charleston Hill Secondary and Paulus Joubert Secondary SGBs sent a letter to the Western Cape Education Department notifying them of their intention.
Pieter Julies, provincial chairperson of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, said: “Today, schools were opened because some parents are not on Facebook and WhatsApp and did not get the message. But we will be starting in Paarl to close schools and we will move on to Wellington.”
He said the number of positive cases was going up daily and they were concerned for the health of all teachers and learners.
In the Western Cape, an estimated 239 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 at about 160 schools since May 18.
“We have given the department time to respond to our letter, and now it’s time to act.
“We know we cannot close schools, but what we are doing is calling on the parents and urging them to not send children to schools.
“We are just telling them to keep children at home. We are not standing there with a key at the gate and closing schools.”
Vanessa le Roux, founder of Parents Against the Reopening of Schools, applauded the SGBs’ move, saying: “I want to salute these SGBs and parents who took the well-being of their children seriously enough to take this decision. Life over any and everything.”
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department would address the letter.
“We reiterate that it is not within the SGB’s mandate to close a school and therefore to close a school without permission from the HOD would be an illegal action.
“The Department will, however, take up the matter with those concerned.”
Hammond said there were more than 1 400 schools operating every day in the province.
“The department has provided each school with the necessary safety and cleaning materials to ensure a safe work environment for teachers and learners.
“The masks, sanitisers, thermometers and cleaning products are no different to those delivered elsewhere.
“Schools have the necessary information in order to ensure that the necessary safety protocols are in place, as we have seen at other schools across the province.”