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'Current evidence does not prove definitively children cannot transmit Covid-19'

6 July 2020 8:52 AM

Naptosa's David Millar and Sadtu's Mugwena Maluleke explain why they feel it is too early to reopen schools in South Africa.

CEO of Naptosa in the Western Cape, David Millar and Sadtu's national General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke speak to Refilwe Moloto about their concerns now that the Education Department has given the green light for grade 6 and 11 learners to return to schools.

Millar says Naptosa has promoted the view that reopening of schools should be delayed.

On 1 July we sent out a newsflash nationally that said please delay the reopening of schools and I think the national minister saw the light.

David Millar, CEO - Naptosa Western Cape

He says the virus is not contained.

There is a lot of angst amongst teachers, parents and school communities at large.

David Millar, CEO - Naptosa Western Cape

It is too early for research to have all the answers regarding children and Covid-19.

The data currently collected cannot be considered as enough evidence to definitively state that children cannot transmit this disease and that their viral loads are not as high as adults. That's the concern.

David Millar, CEO - Naptosa Western Cape

It is also winter, it's flu season and this virus acts very much like flu even though it is not part of the flu family.

David Millar, CEO - Naptosa Western Cape

Naptosa has called for a delay in the opening of schools until early August, he confirms.

He says the Eastern Cape has delated Grade Rs returning on Monday as the masks were too big for their faces. Health and safety must come first he emphasises.

Sadtu's National General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke says Sadtu shares Naptosa's sentiments.

Maluleke adds that in many cases schools keep closing week after week due to ongoing infections of teachers and pupils which also defeats the purpose of the consistent education process.

A differentiated opening of schools was an idea and a solution because then you are recognising that there are hotspots and in those particular hotspots you cannot continue to be reckless in your decision and just open it up because the virus does not move - it is moved by people.

Mugwena Maluleke, National General Secretary - Sadtu

Education is by its very nature a social environment, he adds.

It brings more people together.

Mugwena Maluleke, National General Secretary - Sadtu

Listen to the interviews below:


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