Mmusi Maimane: 'Class periods must not be superspreader events'
Mmusi Maimane has called on the basic education department to ensure classrooms and schools are safe for teachers and pupils when schools reopen on February 15.
The One SA Movement leader said there needs to be a vaccination programme that will ensure the protection of staff and pupils, and personal protective equipment (PEE) must be provided.
“We cannot, like we saw last year, have weeks in which some schools had PPE and others did not. We have to deliver all PPE to schools. We have to fix infrastructure at all schools.
“It cannot be that there is complete injustice in some schools. Some are still using pit latrines and some schools still do not have running water.
“More than anything, we have to ensure community viral loads are more than maintained and we can assess thoroughly whether it is safe to open the schools in each particular community,” Maimane said in a video shared on social media.
Bagaetsho the @DBE_SA has 30 days to make sure that our schools are safe, sanitary and adequately prepared for the new variant.— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) January 15, 2021
We the people have to hold them to account to make sure that class periods do not become super spread events. #schoolsreopening
They must work. pic.twitter.com/Sk7LrBS5AL
His calls come after the department announced on Friday that the reopening of schools would be delayed by two weeks. Deputy basic education minister Reginah Mhaule said this would help ease pressure on the health system and prevent a spike in Covid-19 infections.
“Given the pressure experienced by the health system in the past few weeks, occasioned by increased Covid-19 infections which have led to the second wave, the council of education ministers (CEM) in conjunction with the national coronavirus command council and cabinet have taken the decision to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks,” she said.
Maimane has been vocal about schooling amid the global pandemic. Last year, he called out the department for its failure to eradicate pit latrines in rural schools around SA. He said this would set SA back in its fight against Covid-19.
He also challenged the government in court in June last year and called for schools to be closed until it was safe to return for teachers and pupils. The bid was dismissed by the Pretoria high court.