Eastern Cape DBE says to deregister children if you want them to stay at home

A limited amount of pupils return to school under strict hygiene conditions at Mimosa Foundation school, 8 June 2020. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The EFF has labelled government’s plan to reopen schools a death trap as they claim many children would fall victim to the pandemic.

Parents have been left with a hard choice to make as the Eastern Cape provincial department of education now says parents who do not send their children back to school for the 2020 academic year are advised to deregister their children as an alternative.

Department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani reportedly said the debate of children going to school was unavoidable since it was law for children to be in school.

Mandatory homeschooling is required for pupils whose parents opted to keep them at home for the rest of the year.

Children could not stay at home doing “nothing,” Pulumani stressed.

Further attempts to contact the spokesperson were unsuccessful at time of publishing, as The Citizen wanted more clarity on what the department’s stance was on school fees after deregistration.

This has resulted in more anxiety for parents who fall on the opinion that departments were risking the lives of many children heading back to school as the country’s Covid-19 infection rate continued on an upward climb.

Contacting several parents, The Citizen spoke to the parent to two girls, Lee Anderson (not her real name) who said the department left them in a challenging position as parents now had to decide between risking infections and no education for their children for the remainder of the year.

On top of the apparent anxiety of pupils heading back to school, parents now have to decide whether keeping them at home outweighs them receiving education.

The EFF has labelled government’s plan to reopen schools a death trap as they claim many children would fall victim to the pandemic.

The party argued the learners were vulnerable to the virus. Expressing their disapproval on the education department’s decision to reopen more grades on 6 July, the EFF said it rejected the decision due to the spike in Covid-19 cases since the reopening of Grades 7 and 12 on 8 June 2020.

Meanwhile, the National Profesional Teachers Organisation of SA has joined the Educators Union of SA, alongside Mmusi Maimane, calling for schools to close until after the Covid-19 peak.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said the call, as unfortunate as it may be, was per the World Health Organisation’s advice, to hold off until the peak of the pandemic had passed.

“This is essential if we are to protect the physical and mental health of our teachers, education support personnel, learners and parents, who, it must be emphasised, are already taking acute strain, whilst, in [President Cyril Ramaphosa’s] words, we are now heading into ‘the storm’,” said Manuel.

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