PODCAST | Covid-19 Chronicles: Education experts divided as back-to-school countdown begins

Education experts are divided over the government's decision to reopen schools on 1 June.

Some believe schools in poorer provinces will not be ready, and that schools should close for the rest of the year to safeguard the health of children and teachers.

Others, though, point to scientific evidence, which shows that children do not seem to transmit the virus. 

Ultimately, parents will have to decide what is in the best interests of their children.

Paediatric pulmonologist Dr Fiona Kritzinger says even children with underlying health conditions will not necessarily be at higher risk, and parents of children who fall into that category should seek advice from the child's specialist.

The unions have urged the government to ensure that enough money is made available to schools lacking infrastructure.

Basil Manuel of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) says additional teaching staff will also be needed because many teachers have comorbidities and are over the age of 60.

Education specialist Professor Mary Metcalfe believes public confidence will be critical.

She agrees with the government's decision to open schools, provided every school is given the tools to open in a way that safeguards learners, workers and teachers. 

If you missed the previous episodes of this brand new podcast series, listen to it on SoundCloud here.

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