Fri. Jul 3rd, 2020

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PSA Appeals To Motshekga To Close Schools As Covid-19 Infections Rise

Angie Motshekga Image EWN

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The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) on Monday appealed to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to close schools before more pupils could return as COVID-19 infections continued to rise.

The PSA represents thousands of educators and administrative staff in schools across the country.

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has warned infections in the province are set to spike over the next few weeks.

The PSA said since schools reopened for grades 7 and matrics on 8 June, it had noticed increasing infections among parents, educators, and pupils.

“Resuming school in mid-winter is not a wise decision as flu-like illness will flare up amongst learners and create confusion with COVID-19 symptoms. With some educators to be placed in self-isolation and others on sick leave owing to infection, the schooling system will be under extreme strain to finalise the academic year,” the association said in a statement.

The union said in Limpopo, more than 40 schools were still without the infrastructure to implement the required health protocols. And in the Eastern Cape, more than 200 pupils of the Makaula Secondary School had tested positive with a further 131 schools being closed.

Added to that, the PSA said earlier this month, two educators passed away due to COVID-19, and more than 100 educators and 1,787 pupils tested positive.

“The PSA believes that the Minister has not taken the financial cost into account and if schools will be able to afford the constant closing of schools to be deep cleaned after the identification of each positive case. In the current economic climate and government claiming to not be able to pay public servants and educators their agreed salary increases this year it is unclear how this financial burden will be absorbed,” it added.

The PSA said these statistics clearly predicted that with more pupils returning to schools, the virus would spread rapidly.

The union said this would result in a stop-start schooling system with educators and pupils being placed in repeated self-isolation.

Therefore, pupils remaining at schools would continue with the curriculum and absent pupils would fall behind.

EWN

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