Teachers make sure that students are in compliance with health, safety and social distancing requirements. Photo: GCIS
Teachers make sure that students are in compliance with health, safety and social distancing requirements. Photo: GCIS

LETTER: Decision to reopen schools short-sighted

By P Rajkumar Time of article published Jun 15, 2020

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OPINION - The EDUCATION department opened schools and immediately returning teachers began to test positive for the coronavirus, forcing their schools to close again and requiring their colleagues and pupils to be screened and tested for the virus.

With all the experts saying the transmission peak is yet to arrive in South Africa, was it wise to reopen schools, and in the middle of winter when people will be especially susceptible to flu-like symptoms?

After more than 50 schools around the country were forced to close again, I can hardly blame organisations like the SA Students’ Congress and various parents’ bodies for calling on pupils to stay at home.

I do not claim to fully understand the ramifications of a lost academic year for the Basic and Higher Education departments, but I can fully understand the ramifications of a lost teacher or child, whose lives are now, I feel, being unnecessarily placed at risk.

With so much of the year already lost, is there really hope of saving the academic year? Is there sufficient time remaining to complete the matric syllabus, or are teachers and pupils expected to cram everything in in the remaining period?

What quality of matric is the department expecting to pass on to the tertiary education system? Or does the department not care because the pupils will no longer be its problem?

I feel the decision to reopen schools was short-sighted in the extreme and we will have the worst reasons to regret it.

P RAJKUMAR Durban

Daily News

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