Displeased principals, teachers, and parents of the surrounding Athlone areas joined hands on Thursday morning against the basic education department’s decision to reopen schools amid the ever-spreading covid-19 pandemic in the country. For many of the teachers, they are less concerned about finishing the academic school year but more about saving the lives of the learners and themselves.
Principal at Heideveld Primary, Rushdien Desai stated teachers need to stand together during this fight against both the virus and the education department.
“Irrespective of whether teachers are unionized or not. This is bigger than any job or any paycheck because at the end of the day we are saving the human race. The danger exists that the scholars are carriers of the virus and they are contracting it in public transport and spreading it within their households and within their communities,” said Desai.
Deputy Principal at Athlone High School, Mr. Kagee called the decision to reopen schools before the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Western Cape province ‘illogical’.
Mathematics and Science teacher at Oude Molen Technical High School, Riyaan Johardien stated he is taking a stance against the orders that were handed by the department of education that is potentially putting lives at risks.
“Decisions were made without taking into consideration the lives that would be lost and who knows when we do that screening every morning who’s to say that the children aren’t lying. The system is inefficient and more needs to be done to ensure our safety,” said Johardien.
A teacher that travelled all the way from Stellenbosch in protest against the reopening of schools, said the department needs to stop being so callous and remember that the lives of teachers matter too.
“Most of my colleagues are over the age of 60 and one of their mothers even passed away yesterday of the disease and this is concerning for me because it only takes one case of covid to spread like wild fire among people and my husband has cancer and this is a fear I carry with me every single day,” said Mrs. Hendricks.
Meanwhile, a concerned parent Fazlin Haraby said if it was up to her all students would remain home and the academic year started afresh next year.
“Our teachers lives and our children’s lives matter. No movement is better in terms of curbing the spread of the virus so I stand firm on the belief that children should stay home, stop the spread and the academic year can be picked up again come 2021,” said a frustrated Haraby.
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