Daily Dispatch

Time to pull plug on 2020 school year

- — Phethu Soga, via e-mail

I agree with Prof Jonathan Jansen that, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the school year should be scrapped.

While scientists claim schoolchil­dren are less susceptibl­e to the virus, the chances are that those who will be infected may transmit it to their families.

It is quite likely that in our province, should children pass it on, it will be to their grandmothe­rs, who frequently play a critical role in their upbringing.

The return of schoolchil­dren also implies the return of other teachers and staff members who are certainly not immune.

After the return of schoolchil­dren even at different times, as the cabinet said, we are likely to have a number of infection cases springing up. This will see the affected schools closed once again for them to be sanitised, which will be disruptive.

Some of the schools are still not ready even now, so what will happen to the children attending such schools?

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has tried very hard to save what is left of the academic year, which is commendabl­e, but this is a dangerous move.

While she has given assurance about the safety measures adopted in schools, it is no-brainer that congestion due to inadequate infrastruc­ture remains a big challenge in our system.

The government has assumed the position that “nobody is forced to take their children to school”. This is a false choice.

This will compel parents to send their children to school against their will.

The government should rather show leadership by scrapping this academic year across the board.

We will rather lose the academic year than young lives or any more teachers. That way, they live to fight another day.

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