Schools in rural areas remain less of a priority as schools are set to reopen on Monday next week.

A School principal in e Msinga KwaZulu Natal talked about his experience when he received an SMS to come and collect PPEs for his school. He was rushed because the Personal Protective Equipments were running out.

He says that upon reaching town where he collected the PPEs, the queue was too long; school principals lining up to collect PPEs for their schools.

He says that his school has not been fumigated or cleaned up as promised by the Department of Basic Education.

The principal who wanted to remain anonymous said that the Department promised to deliver PPEs to schools, but now they have to use their vehicles to fetch PPEs from the nearest town.

A complete contrast to schools in the Western Cape who reported that 100% of their teachers reported to work. Unfortunately one of the teachers in Hague Primary school tested positive for Covid 19; the school will now undergo cleaning before the staff return again.

Last week DBE officials posted pictures on their social media of schools ready to reopen; however those were schools in Urban Areas. Schools in Rural Areas prove to be the biggest challenge to the plan to reopen schools.

The false start to the reopening of schools indicates the unfortunate fact that schools should not open yet as stated by unions, parents and student bodies. Minister of Basic Education keeps referring to schools in France (see) and other parts of the world who have reopened; circumstances are not the same! SA is the first country to ease lockdown before the peak of the virus.

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Rural Areas

Hospitals close down and health workers are dying from this virus; teachers may be more susceptible to contract the virus regardless of the safety measures in place. Schools in Rural Areas seemingly have been left behind. Community members have not seen anyone coming to fumigate schools in the Rural Areas.

A small number of teachers braved their way to these schools; they also concurred that their schools were not fumigated.

PPEs are not enough globally; SA heath workers in the Eastern Cape didn’t have enough PPEs and had to choose between the covid 19 patient or their lives; sadly they chose the latter and the patient died. Schools reopening will certainly put an extra demand to the availability of PPEs.

It is clear that the Minister will not change her mind. Schools in the Rural Areas remain at the back of the line in the plan to reopen schools.

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