South Africa: Tough Choices - Reopening of Schools Forces Educators and Parents to Face a Rationality Test of Their Own


In the coming weeks, more children across the country will be returning to school. Some parents who are particularly risk-averse might balk at the idea, but others might not have that choice.

Children will be returning to schools in South Africa in an environment in which Covid-19 cases are drastically increasing. At the moment, the country is averaging over 6,000 positive cases a day.

There are a lot of nervous people out there who think it makes little sense to fully reopen the economy while transmission of the virus is far from under control.

However, the reality for the country is that it cannot return to the days of a hard lockdown. The economic impact would simply be too severe and, besides, public support for such an extreme move has long since dissipated.

The economic data from the first quarter of this year indicated a 2% contraction in growth. For the second quarter, when the country went into hard lockdown, it is likely to be far more severe. For a start, unemployment is expected to rise significantly in the months to come. The choices now are limited.

A key indicator of normalcy for many will be the reopening of schools....

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