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SGB associations don't support plans to delay reopening of high schools - Fedsas

15 January 2021 7:58 AM
Tags:
FEDSAS
DBE
schools reopening
NCCC
Fedsas CEO Paul Colditz
school postponement

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) has recommended that the reopening of high schools be postponed to 15 February 2021.

This comes after the Department of Basic Education (DBE) met with the NCCC to discuss the state of readiness for state schools in the context of the Covid-19 second wave.

Teachers and school management teams are due to return to classrooms on Monday 25 January 2021 and learners are met to start on Wednesday 27 January.

However, the NCC has apparently recommended that only primary schools and early childhood development centres (ECDs) should open as scheduled.

The command council is pushing for high schools to remain closed until mid-February.

The DBE met with education stakeholders, including school governing body (SGB) associations and teachers unions, canvassing for support on Wednesday night.

However, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas), says SGB associations do not support the plans to postpone the reopening of public high schools.

Fedsas CEO Paul Colditz says there is not enough scientific evidence from experts in order to make an informed decision about the impact of the Covid-19 variant on school-going children.

Our position was that we simply do not have enough information to make an informed decision and we, therefore, cannot support the decision to postpone.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

Colditz says Fedsas is of the view that learners and teachers are safer in schools, which are controlled settings.

He says the DBE made no mention of a possible deviation from the school calendar prior to this week.

Meanwhile, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to hold a press briefing at 9am on Friday to announce her decision.

We were told that the NCC requested the department to go back to stakeholders and ask them for their support for a decision to re-open the schools on the 15th of February.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

The request was that only secondary schools would open later, but ECD centres and primary schools would still open as planned for learners on the 27th of January.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

We have not been given an indication of the state of provinces for the reopening. And we know that very often there are quite a lot of discrepancies from what we experience at grassroots level and the reports that provinces give to the DBE.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

The information that we got at that meeting was so insufficient to make an informed decision, so our position was that we need medical advice from experts on what the situation now is with this new variant. We don't have that information.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

What we do know from the experience we had from last year is that schools are the safest place for children to be during this pandemic because the children are under controlled circumstances.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

The risk of contracting the virus outside of the school, in our experience, is much higher than it is when you're in school.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

So it didn't make logical sense to us to say let's postpone the reopening of schools, particularly secondary schools because those are the adolecscnte, the children that are most at-risk in terms of infectiosn.

Paul Colditz, CEO - Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools

Listen to the discussion on Early Breakfast with Africa Melane:




15 January 2021 7:58 AM
Tags:
FEDSAS
DBE
schools reopening
NCCC
Fedsas CEO Paul Colditz
school postponement

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