Overweight or diabetic teachers are at risk of catching Covid-19, says expert

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga delivers a speech during the announcement of the matric results for the class of 2017 at the SABC studios in Auckland Park, Johannesburg on 4 January 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

The department of education is moving into an evident crisis in schools, risking lives, according to educational expert Professor Jonathan Jansen.

Government may just be delaying an inevitable reality, according to education expert veteran Professor Jonathan Jansen, who says government’s rush to re-open schools in an effort to save the curriculum may be dampened by a severe number of Covid-19 cases from both teachers and pupils.

While teaching unions have been at the forefront calling for government to reconsider its approach regarding the re-opening of schools, Jansen lauded the union’s protective stance and believes delaying matters until a safer time to continue would not harm anyone.

“The government will re-open schools. The virus will close them down…”

This was an inevitable reality the country was moving into, he said, advising for a less drastic approach which would ensure a large majority of teachers and pupils’ lives are saved.

“Some teachers are like me,” he told Gareth Cliff on his new TV talk show So What Now, adding that they are overweight and some are diabetic and that these underlying conditions are dangerous coupled with the disease.

“It’s not a life or death situation. This is not going to sink the ship at all.”

Pupils and teachers will go to school, get infected and the schools will shut down. This will continue to happen until government faces the looming reality.

Although Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga reiterated that sound international evidence led to government’s decision on schools reopening, the Educators Union of South Africa believes the situation in several schools will get worse, and innocent people will be infected by the virus, with no defence against it.

“We live in a time where we see a government that claims to be for the people deliberately sending its people to death,” said the unions Kabelo Mahlobogwane.

“We still forge on with our attempts to stop this. We call on the community to join us and refuse to comply with this nonsense by basic education. We have advised our members to prioritise their health and continue to fight for those that have chosen to report for duty.”

Motshekga has confirmed that Grade 12 exams will start in November as their Grade 12 papers had been prepared.

“We say rather write at a later time than rush,” Motshekga stressed, as the department continued its efforts to assist 2020 matriculants complete the curriculum.

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