The Paediatrician Management Group and the South African Paediatric Association (SAPA) have condemned the reclosure of public schools in the country.
The bodies say cabinet’s decision is not based on scientific evidence and is not in the best interests of children.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a four-week long break for learners in public schools across the country while Grade 12 learners will have a week-long break and Grade 7 learners, a two-week break.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga faced mounting pressure to close schools amid the surge in coronavirus infections in the country after reopening schools almost a month ago.
In a joint statement, the two bodies argue that children are at a lower risk of contracting the coronavirus than adults, with children in the country accounting for only 5% of positive cases. They say the benefits of reopening schools far outweigh the risks.
This despite the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation that schools should only reopen in the context of low community transmissions.
The groups, however, say it is illogical to close all schools in the country when the community transmission varies across districts and provinces.
They call for the reopening of public schools and school communities immediately.
They’ve urged the government to place the health, well-being and needs of the children in the country before politics.