South Africa: Covid-19 Second Wave Forces a Rethink On the Reopening of Schools On 25 January

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opinion

We all knew a second Covid-19 wave was on its way. Knowing how the virus had affected schools, education authorities were able to plan for 2021, but no one could have foreseen that it would be so extensive and so much more deadly.

There is great concern over the rising number of Covid-19 infections and deaths among teachers. In Gauteng alone, 32 teachers died in one week. According to Die Son newspaper, the Western Cape has lost 78 teachers over the past two weeks and 573 are fighting for their lives. Countrywide, 1,659 teachers have already died from the virus. There are fears of a shortage of teachers when the school year opens.

On Monday, 45,000 teachers began marking millions of matric exam papers. From experience, I know these marking centres can be highly populated. If markers suddenly fall ill, and some do not turn up for fear of contracting Covid-19, there will be another crisis facing us.

During the peak of the first wave in July and August 2020, schools closed for a month when infections rose to 140,000. During the past month, a new peak was reached. When the president announced stricter lockdown regulations on 5 December, there...

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