'No one knows what's happening behind closed doors': Local teacher questions school Covid-19 safety

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"It is frightening to sit there the whole day, trying to do your job, not knowing if today is the day!" (Getty Images)
"It is frightening to sit there the whole day, trying to do your job, not knowing if today is the day!" (Getty Images)

A local educator employed by an NGO wrote to Parent24 to share the disturbing lack of Covid-19 safety measures she's observed at three different schools she serves. 

She questions whether anyone really cares about children and teachers.  

Read her letter below. 

I am a qualified teacher who works for an NGO. 

I teach at three primary schools in the Western Cape each week, and social distancing is non-existent in each of the three. Teachers don't wear masks in class, and neither do learners.

Sanitiser is used maybe twice a day.

Schools are dirty and positive cases do not get reported; schools merely send those students and teachers home for a few days. Many parents are positive, but learners are allowed in school. 

When the schools get 'disinfected', it takes a day, and it is clear when we return that nothing has been done properly. Students mix without masks during break times. 

I would also like to know why we, who work at the schools, were not candidates for a Covid-19 vaccine? This means I am not protected. 

Also read: 'Teachers as canon fodder': Read this fiery open letter in response to looming full capacity classes

'How can this work?'

Rules are not followed, and now all learners are supposed to return? How can this work if it does not even work with half the number of learners? 

It is frightening to sit there the whole day, trying to do your job, not knowing if today is the day. Why are Angie and her team not taking better measures in ensuring protocol is followed at schools? 

Why don't they sit in one of those classrooms with no open windows for a week and see how safe they feel?

'The toll on our children'

Learners also need counselling; emotionally, the toll on our children is a bigger problem than their marks. I call them the lost generation. 

All sounds good on paper, but on the practical side, it is a mess. Go to some of our state-run schools, especially those in black and coloured communities, and you will know the truth. 

I feel vulnerable and exposed at school, but the DBE cares more about having full classes than children and teachers. No one knows what is happening at schools behind closed doors, and no one really cares. We see what's going on every day. 

When 12 learners and six teachers are sent home in one day, but the department doesn't get back to the principal on closing the school, it remains open! I have seen it with my own eyes.

Does anyone care?

- Scared and frustrated educator

*The views and opinions expressed above don't necessarily reflect that of Parent24 or Media24. 


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