By Dorothy Mabelebele
People on social media have been discussing about the decision taken by the Department of Education on the re-opening of schools during the lockdown. Parents are not agreeing with the re-opening of schools whilst the number of COVID-19 tested positive cases continue to rise drastically alongside rising deaths cases. Looking at the main issue of South Africa easing the lockdown, parents are worried about getting their children back to school. Even though the Minister of Education Angie Motshekga assured the parents that compliance will be enforced based on the sanitation measures, availability of water, provision of masks and enforcing social distancing in the schools.
Parents are worried that children won’t comply with the rules and regulations around COVID-19 since they wont be able to put on masks for the whole day and parents also argue that even though schools can be sanitized, there is high risk of infecting each other as pupils come from different families where some family members might be infected by the virus.
Motshekga said as of 4 May, senior managers in the education sector will return to work to prepare for the reopening of schools. The senior managers will then be followed by school management teams on 11 May 2020. Teachers will, based on the proposal, only return to work on 18 May 2020. Due to unfinished preparations, May/June exams are postponed. Motshekga urged parents who attend fee-paying schools to keep paying fees. This follows reports that in some schools, parents did not pay fees, which affected the salaries of SGB-appointed teachers, who are not on government’s payroll but rather receive their income from the school fees.