South African Students to forcefully shut down schools after 100 teachers, 1,800 students test positive for coronavirus
London, June 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) is threatening forcefully to shut down schools in the Western Cape after several teachers at schools across the country tested positive for COVID-19.
Attempt by South African students to forcefully shut down schools began on Monday at Rhodes High School in Cape Town where there were reports of stand-off between police and officials of the students union that prompted Police to fire stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
At least over 100 teachers and 1,800 learners in South Africa’s Covid-19 epicentre province, the Western Cape, have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, forcing 20 schools to close.
The schools will be disinfected this week
Treasurer-general of South African students union, Michael Mayalo says the lives of learners are at risk.”As COSAS, we want to put a radical approach to this thing,” he said.
“Police have shot us with stun grenades and rubber bullets and we said we are not going anywhere until Rhodes is shut down, and it has shut down.
“We are moving to all schools, we are saying to scholars to stop going to school with immediate effect.”
Mayalo says the education fraternity must not be used as a testing kit.
KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu says the Umlazi District has the most cases
The southern African nation allowed schools to reopen from June 1.
Education MEC Debbie Schafer, however, said the cases had not spiked due to the reopening of schools.
“Of this number, 1,537 cases were reported before the schools were reopened,” Ms Schafer said.
The provincial Education Department had spent R280 million (US$16.3 million) on hygiene supplies. Pupils and teachers were given two masks each, while schools were equipped with digital thermometers, hand sanitiser, liquid soap, and cleaning supplies.
Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane, a former Democratic Alliance leader and now fronting civil society group One South Africa Movement, said it is still premature for children to be back at school.
With the country having recorded almost 55,421 coronavirus cases and 1,210 deaths by midday Thursday as per government statistics, Mr Maimane feels the environment is not yet conducive for a return to classrooms.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to respond to our letter and petition. We gave him 48 hours. He is leaving us with no choice. We have engaged Advocate Dali Mpofu and we will meet this government in court. We will not gamble with our children’s lives,” he said