THE grim milestone of South Africa reaching one million Covid-19 cases on Sunday as announced by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has rocked the country.
There are also reports of about 14 teachers who have died from Covid-19 within 24 hours.
According to a Facebook post by Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga, he received information five days ago that a further 18 teachers were reported to have died on Saturday from Covid-19 and 32 had died in less than a week.
“The grieving over these holidays is too much. Many families have been left without loved ones during these holidays arising from social activities,” he posted.
Concerned about these numbers, the Educators Union of South Africa shared Mhlanga’s post on its WhatsApp chat group in order to caution its teachers that the second wave was real and was killing more and more teachers.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) agreed saying that the number of teachers dying of Covid-19 was an indication that there was a huge number of teachers in society.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said school closed on December 15, before the second wave which made it difficult for the union to collect statistics on the number of teachers who have since died from Covid-19.
“We are receiving reports of teachers dying of Covid-19. It would be dangerous to re-open schools now in the middle of the second wave, especially as numbers show that more and more citizens who are also teachers are dying of Covid-19. It is therefore important for the government to implement strict strategies to fight the pandemic now before schools reopen. We continue to urge our teachers to practice.
The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) provincial spokesperson Thirona Moodley said the schooling system should prepare itself for the 2021 schooling year including the reality that a number of teachers and support staff will not return to work due to the severe Covid-19 pandemic.
Moodley said this would leave a gap in the system as their losses will be felt as experiences and expertise that they offered cannot be replaced overnight.
She said this was because teachers engaged in lifelong learning and accumulate invaluable experience over the years in the profession. social distancing by avoiding crowded places and gatherings,”said Caluza.
In other news – Here are all the new lockdown level 3 changes, including businesses that have to close
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted the latest amendments to the Disaster Management Act, giving effect to the move to lockdown level 3 announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night. Learn more