‘Five-year-old boy left out of class because of runny nose’

The five-year-old boy is in Grade R at Lehlohonolo Primary School. Picture: Lehlohonolo Primary School/Facebook

The five-year-old boy is in Grade R at Lehlohonolo Primary School. Picture: Lehlohonolo Primary School/Facebook

Published Nov 16, 2020


Cape Town - An outraged Gugulethu mother claims her son is being deprived of education at Lehlohonolo Primary School over a runny nose, because his teacher believes he is “high risk’” to contract Covid-19 and would infect other children.

Portia Mdletye said the last time her 5-year-old son was taught with his peers in Grade R was in March.

She claimed the class teacher informed her that “all grade R pupils would continue to learn from home for the rest of the year”, but that she recently found out it was only her son who was being turned away.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Millicent Merton said the district office was investigating the complaint.

“My child developed flu symptoms in March in the week schools were scheduled to close due to lockdown. I took him to the pharmacy and received medication for that.

“That is when the problem started but I was not aware at the time because the teacher never confronted me to ask if the child was tested for Covid-19 or anything related to his flu,” said Mdletye.

She said that in September, Grade R children could return to school but her son was sent home on the first day, claiming they were told to stay at home.

“I was informed about the days and time I must go fetch the school work. Something personal came up another day and my uncle went to the school on my behalf. To his surprise, my son’s peers were all in class being taught.

“I did an unannounced visit to see for myself and met the teacher outside. She was rude to me. When I followed her into the classroom, it was indeed full of pupils.

“The teacher just gave me a book and told me to continue home-schooling my son because his temperature is always up, he always has a runny nose and feared they won’t be able to tell if he contracted Covid-19, meaning he is a risk and would infect other children.

“This really hurt me because I take care of my child. He is neat and doesn’t always have a runny nose,” said Mdletye.

She said she lodged a complaint at the Maitland and Ndabeni WCED district offices that she was required to home-school her son without the home-schooling form, as per government directives, and regarding her son’s health.

Cape Times