DA says it will monitor safety protocols when schools reopen
The DA has set up a team of monitors in all provinces to oversee the reopening of schools from June 1.
DA shadow minister for higher education, science and technology Belinda Bozzoli said this on Friday as she outlined the DA's plans on how government could make sure children and teachers were safe during the phased-in reopening of schools.
She said the DA supported basic education minister Angie Motshekga on her plans to reopen the schools and on how this should be in phases, and accompanied by hygiene and all of the various components.
“As so often happens with this government, they put forward a good idea and then they do not implement it properly. What we worry about is the implementation.
“So we have set up a task team of all our provincial MPLs and our one MEC to oversee the actual implementation of this.”
Bozzoli said the task team will start its monitoring from next Monday, when teachers are meant to go back.
“They are going have a look at that in a sample of schools: Have the teachers gone back? — if they have not, where and what the problems are,” Bozzoli said.
She said the team will also be checking again on June 1, when the grade 7 and 12 pupils go back.
Bozzoli said the team will check whether all the proper provisions are in place.
“If not, we will alert people and we will suggest that the school be closed down until all proper protocols are in place. We understand the concerns of parents, we promise we will be a watchdog for them.”
She said the monitoring will not end when grades 7 and 12 return, but will continue when other pupils return to school.
Bozzoli said studies have shown children are much less vulnerable to the disease than adults.
In the case of teachers, she said, they worry about their vulnerability.
“Teachers should go back if they do not have comorbidities. They should be well-screened and checked and should maintain social distancing,” Bozzoli said.
Bozzoli said it was very important for government to save the academic year because studies showed disadvantaged children suffered more from a delay in schooling.
She said the poor were unable to undergo online schooling or home schooling, and once they start missing months of school, a large number are unlikely to go back.
“We do not want the disadvantage gap to become much wider than it is.”