- Parents in Mitchells Plain want Imperial Primary School to shut down after an alleged Covid-19 related death at the school.
- One angry parent, who picketed outside the school on Wednesday, said she'd rather have her children repeat a year.
- The Western Cape Education Department said they were aware of parents' anxieties. They could, however, not confirm any Covid-19 cases at the school.
Parents of Imperial Primary School in Mitchells Plain picketed outside the school on Wednesday morning, preventing pupils from entering the premises.
This after a staff member allegedly died of a Covid-19 related illness.
Parents told News24 that the person was at school last week, before being rushed to hospital.
Some said it's safer to have pupils repeat the year than to risk them getting the virus.
One of the parents, Anthea Adams, from Eastridge, told News24 that she was disappointed in the government.
"It is very wrong for the government to expect us to send our children to school in these circumstances," she said.
"We have lost so many friends, family, and colleagues due to Covid-19.
"My child won't be a statistic."
The mother of two said her eldest son, who is currently in Grade 3, missed coming to school and that he was saddened by the recent death.
"When I told my son about the passing of the staff member, he just burst out crying," she said.
"He told me he didn't want to come back to school, because he doesn't want to die."
Tazneem Adams, who has a daughter in Grade 7, wants the education department to come up with a better solution.
"I understand that the children need to move on to higher grades to make space for the other kids. But it will be better if the parents can come and fetch the work on a Monday and return the completed work on a Friday afternoon," she suggested.
"Children will be children, they will play around and get into each other's space."
While the parents conceded that education is vital, they said it's not more important than the life of a child.
The Western Cape Education Department's Kerry Mauchline confirmed that they were aware of parents' anxieties.
"A number of parents gathered at the school today, however schooling was not disrupted," Mauchline said.
She added: "Only the HoD can close a school. Parents, SGBs or protesters have no authority or mandate to do so, and may not prevent learners who wish to attend school from exercising their constitutional right to a basic education."
As per the department's policy, Mauchline was unable to confirm any Covid-19 cases at the school or whether a staff member died of the virus.
"We cannot confirm the cause of death of any staff member, as this is a matter of private medical records and the purview of the Department of Health," she said.