CAPE TOWN -
Principals from Athlone High School, Heathfield High and Steenberg High Schools wrote an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa objecting against the phased reopening of schools.
The group requested that the Department of Basic Education suspend the 2020 academic year and are calling on other schools to speak up.
“We opine, with great conviction, that the decision to reopen primary and high schools on June 1 was the wrong one. We contend that the timing is bad as wintry weather brings with it seasonal illness such as influenza,” read the letter.
“The coronavirus thrives under cold conditions and will also augment and exacerbate the onset of the flu and tuberculosis.
“The anxiety around Covid-19 is palpable. The extra workload with regards to health screening, now foisted on to the teachers, is adding to the anxiety.”
Athlone High School principal Vincent Hendricks said that the department should have an open discussion with schools and various stakeholders on the ground which did not take place prior to the reopening on June 1.
“We could be the only country in the world to resume schooling at the start of winter. Teachers cannot be held liable for the government’s failures with regards to social delivery.
“Why doesn’t the state focus on social recovery? We are all for the reopening of schools but the timing is bad,” said Hendricks.