Parents barricade gates of Limpopo schools as more grades return to the classroom

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  • Parents at some schools in Limpopo barricaded gates on the first day of the return of pupils.
  • They are demanding, among others, proper sanitation facilities, water and renovation of dilapidated buildings.
  • Education MEC Polly Boshielo however, says she is satisfied that there are enough health and hygiene essentials to cater for all pupils.

Parents at some schools in Limpopo barricaded gates on the first day of the return of pupils on Monday because of lack of preventative measures against Covid-19.

News24 received reports from various areas, especially in the deep rural areas, where some parents used the first day after lockdown to demand improved infrastructure at the schools.

At the core of the demands were proper sanitation facilities, water and renovation of dilapidated buildings.

READ | All private preschools may reopen immediately, court rules

In Malamulele, parents withdrew their children because a second teacher tested positive for Covid-19. The school was previously closed for three days when the first teacher tested positive.

However, Education MEC Polly Boshielo remained satisfied that there were enough health and hygiene essentials to cater for all pupils.

Challenges

"Schools with water challenges received water tanks last month and there are arrangements in place with municipalities to ensure consistent supply of water and delivery of additional chemical toilets is proceeding as planned," Boshielo said.

She said schools were now using "differentiated timetables" to comply with social distancing requirements.

READ | Eastern Cape postpones return of Grades R, 6 and 11 as Covid-19 cases rise

"... it is only when we receive weekly reports from district directors that we will get a sense of how schools have settled into this approach," she said.

But Professional Educators Union (PEU) provincial secretary Mosadi Sekwadi said there were schools which were not supposed to have been allowed to receive pupils from other grades.

"The tanks were delivered at some schools but there is no water. As teachers, we don't have powers to close schools," Sekwadi said.

She gave an example of a school where 147 school boys share two toilets.

On the closure of schools by parents, Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba appealed to parents to desist from placing stigma on teachers and pupils testing positive.

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