Those who fail to adhere to measures put in place to protect pupils who attend school during the Covid-19 pandemic will be harshly dealt with by the province, KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said on Wednesday.
“We will be very strict in monitoring that all our schools are cleaned every day. If there is somebody who doesn’t perform his or her duty such that the school defaults, consequences will be meted out to that person,” he said.
Mshengu was speaking to a handful of journalists before he went into a meeting with other MECs in Mayville, Durban.
“We will not be shying away from dealing with such a person because lives are important. We will not be able to expose learners and teachers because they are lazy or casual about [Covid-19].”
Mshengu said that schools would be cleaned daily, as mandated by the national Basic Education Department. He said School Governing Bodies (SGBs) would assume this responsibility.
“We empowered SGBs to appoint cooperatives who will be responsible for the cleaning of schools every day. The budget is coming directly from the head office. We are not going to be using the norms and standards that we normally give to schools because of the nature of what we are facing.”
He said that most SGBs were in the process of appointing cooperatives.
“We are providing them with all input costs, like your spray guns, personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as the disinfectants. These cooperatives will just be walking into a school, pick up these things and start cleaning the school.”
Mshengu said more than 400 schools have been vandalised in KZN during the national lockdown. This, he said, put further strain on the already tightened education budget.
Schools with minor damage, such as broken windows, had to use their norms and standards budget for repairs.
“But where the damage is quite bad, we are intervening in this, in terms of providing a necessary backup plan so that there is no learner in KZN who will go to school on June 1 and not have a classroom to be in,” Mshengu said.
He also called on parents to ensure their children went straight home after school.
“We are going to provide all the essentials for pupils to fight against Covid-19. We have no control of pupils when they leave school premises. That is where the community and parents come in.”
Mshengu said parents had to strictly monitor their children.
“They must make sure that when learners leave school, they go straight to their home and are indoors. They cannot roam the streets and expose themselves to risk contracting the virus.”