Covid-19: COSAS closes down Cape Town school

Matric students sent home

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COSAS representative Buntu Joseph addressed learners at Bloekombos High School on Wednesday, telling them to go home. Photo: Vincent Lali

Congress of South African Students’ (COSAS) representatives sent about 170 matric students and school cooks home from the Bloekombos High School in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Buntu Joseph, a member of the COSAS National Task team, told the gathered 12th graders that COSAS was closing down the school because of the danger of Covid-19 infection. “Go home and don’t come to school tomorrow,” he told them.

He said: “Masks and sanitisers don’t work in schools. Infections increase day in and day out in schools despite the fact that learners and teachers wear masks and use sanitisers.”

Joseph also told school cooks to leave the school. “Go home. You are old. You will easily get infected here,” he said.

Joseph said COSAS wanted the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) to make learners study in campsites. “The department must test learners and teachers, quarantine them for 14 days and place them in camping sites,” he said.

Joseph said learners get the coronavirus in school and pass it to their parents “who have chronic diseases and who are old”.

Teachers sat in the sun outside the school after the learners left. They said three teachers and one administrative staff member had tested positive for the virus.

“We are scared to go into classrooms and contract the virus because the department has not yet cleaned and fumigated them,” said history teacher Dumani Mnyombolo. “We have been in contact with the infected teachers and even sat in the same car as them. Now we don’t want to infect the kids with the virus in the classrooms.”

“If the school had been closed and cleaned after the first teacher tested positive for the virus three weeks ago, the other three staff members would not have contracted the virus,” he said.

Buhlebekhaya Buso, secretary of Bloekombos High school governing body, said the body wanted the school disinfected.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the administrative block at the school had been cordoned off for cleaning “as a staff member who was confined to this area has tested positive. The need to close the whole school is not necessary based on the evidence provided. We are not aware of any other cases at present”.

“The department has provided each school with the necessary safety and cleaning materials to ensure a safe work environment for teachers and learners,” she said.

On Monday, COSAS representatives disrupted classes at Thandokhulu High School in Mowbray, sending many learners home. On Wednesday, the SA National Civics Association closed down Vukani Primary School in Crossroads after a teacher tested positive.

TOPICS:  Covid-19 Education

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