It is a well-known fact that South Africa is currently undergoing its second wave of coronavirus infections. This wave started early December and since then it has not given the citizen's a time to breathe. The cases have continuously gone up throughout December and gotten worse at the start of the new year. Luckily for the department of education, this second wave started when schools were closed, but their luck has run out.
When the academic year ended, somewhere in the beginning if December, it was decided that the next academic year for all South African public schools would start on the 27th of January. This is just about a week away. The department has been scrambling about trying to figure out whether schools should reopen. The peak of the second wave has not been reached yet. Parents couldn't wait for the government, so they made sure they voiced out what they thought.
In a study that was conducted by the University of Johannesburg between the 30th of December and the 06 of January, they found out that parents who have children that are scholars are saying no to the reopening of schools. According to the study, there is a big problem that could come to the country's way if places of mass gatherings like schools reopen. This is a very simple but powerful study.
Several findings came out of the study. The following are those key findings by the University of Johannesburg:
The key findings of the study show that:
-53% of adults think schools should remain closed until the situation improves;
-19% of adults believe that schools should re-open for grade 7 and grade 12 learners only;
-19% of adults think schools should re-open for all grades;
-9% of adults ‘don’t know’.
Attitudes towards the opening of schools were consistent by gender. 52% of men and 53% of women believe schools should not re-open until the situation improves again. However, differences on whether schools should re-open differed by income, race and type of accommodation, the researchers said.
The government now faces one of it's greatest challenges, it has to decide whether it allows kids to go back to school. Angie Motshekga has been very quiet about the matter, as the minister of basic education, she has to address the matter head-on, so parents get better clarification. One of the things that scared the parents are the statistics that in the first 11 days of 2021, a record-breaking 190 000 infections were recorded. With such numbers, parents do not want to take chances.
The next big step needs to be announced soon, there are about 14 days left until the 27th and parents need a way forward. What do you think should be done about the matter? Should school reopen or remain closed?
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