South Africa | Covid-19: Cosas closes down Cape Town school and sends 170 matric pupils home

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

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

PHOTO: Vincent Lali/GroundUp

Congress of South African Students' (Cosas) representatives sent about 170 matric pupils and school cooks home from Bloekombos High School in Cape Town on Wednesday, GroundUp reported.

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 Education Department (WCED) to make pupils 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 pupils get the coronavirus in school and pass it to their parents "who have chronic diseases and who are old".

'We are scared to go into classrooms'

Teachers sat in the sun outside the school after the pupils had 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's governing body, said it wanted the school disinfected.

WCED 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 pupils home.

On Wednesday, the SA National Civics Association closed down Vukani Primary in Crossroads after a teacher tested positive.

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