President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

No school should reopen unless precautions are in place, says Ramaphosa

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 1, 2020

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government understands the frustrations faced by parents as some learners are expected back at school in the following days. 

The president said no school should reopen unless it was ready and prepared. 

Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter that the government was doing everything it can to hear the fears of parents and put measures in place to ensure the safety of learners and teachers as the country's fights the spread of the coronavirus. 

The president's letter is published on the day where hundreds of grade 7 and 12 learners were expected back at school. However, a last-minute statement by the department of education on Sunday night noted that schools will be opened for learners on June 8. There have been concerns that some schools were not ready to open. Teacher unions have bemoaned the lack of direction from the department of education. 

The unions had demanded that various measures, including the provision of PPE and cleaning of classrooms, should take place before teachers and learners were expected back at work. They have encouraged members not to go back to work unless all their demands were met. 

Ramaphosa's letter attempted to put parents' fears at ease with him saying that the government was working on providing the needed equipment and ensuring that sanitation is provided to schools in need. 

"We are continuing with the process of delivering personal protective equipment and ensuring the availability of water and sanitation services. Learning, once it commences, will take place under strict conditions with a correctly limited number of learners and students.
 
"As parents, teachers, governing bodies and government, we are in agreement that no school should reopen until all the necessary precautions are in place. There needs to be transparency about the level of preparedness of each of the schools. Everyone who is a key role player, be they a parent, a school governing body member, a teacher or a government official should be able to have the correct information about the state of preparedness of each school. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is safe," Ramaphosa said. 

He said over the next few weeks as learners go back to work the measures put in place to avoid transmissions will be monitored. 

"Though we may feel anxious and fearful as our sons and daughters leave our care, we must draw courage from the fact that every effort is being made to protect them. As parents, you have entrusted us with the welfare and safety of your children. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly. In the days and weeks to come, we will be closely monitoring the return to school," he said. 

IOL

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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