Saving the Curriculum or Saving Life? The Risk of Opening Schools in South Africa at the Peak of the Country’s COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors

  • Rifumuni Nancy Mathebula Department of Foundations of Education, School of Education, University of Venda, South Africa
  • Tawanda Runhare Department of Foundations of Education, School of Education, University of Venda, South Africa

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.36941/jesr-2021-0062

Keywords:

COVID-19, pandemic, coronavirus, infection, lockdown, influenza

Abstract

Despite stringent preventative measures, the corona virus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had adversely affected the contemporary global community. The pandemic has had an inevitable negative impact on education globally. This paper critiques the South African Department of Basic Education’s opening of schools at the beginning of severe winter in June 2020 based on the claim of having the capacity to implement preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 in schools.  Using literature, government statements and constitutional frameworks, we argue that it was unrealistic, irrational and contradictory to open schools when the government was decongesting other public sectors and at a time when the country was in severe cold season, which is suitable for the survival of the corona virus. We note that schools opened when the COVID-19 infections and fatalities were heightening in the country, when winter was at its doorsteps and personal protective equipments (PPEs) were inadequately supplied in schools. We also argue that it was a myth that children are safe from COVID-19 and saving the school calendar at the expense of human life was catastrophic and therefore schools should not have opened in the severe winter, without a cure or vaccine for the COVID-19.

 

Received: 26 November 2020 / Accepted: 27 January 2021 / Published: 10 May 2021

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Published

2021-05-10

How to Cite

Mathebula, R. N. ., & Runhare, T. . (2021). Saving the Curriculum or Saving Life? The Risk of Opening Schools in South Africa at the Peak of the Country’s COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 11(3), 187. https://doi.org/10.36941/jesr-2021-0062

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Articles