Children staying home are more at risk

Mark Kleinschmidt, Councillor for Ward 60

While ANC-aligned teacher unions favour the national government’s decision to close schools until August 24, many health professionals, some school governing bodies and the DA-governed Western Cape provincial education MEC Debbie Shafer, are convinced that children staying home are more vulnerable and at risk to contracting Covid-19 and other social evils.

Many health specialists and essential workers are actually disappointed that educators and parents have agreed to a call to close schools.

Already we have seen many children running around and playing naively without face masks or practising social distancing.

I can attest to the authenticity of the aforesaid, because it is prevalent when we do weekly feeding in the community I serve.

Schools are ideal institutions of safety for children when their parents are at work, and those with feeding schemes, play an integral role for the daily nutrition of children in marginalised communities

Children need adult supervision, and those parents who are forced to go to work for an income, will invariably experience undue stress and anxiety while children are alone at home.

Many parents just cannot afford a care-giver to look after their children.

If our national government ensured adequate funding for PPE (personal protective equipment) and the safety of learners, such as the more affluent private schools and minimise the risk of Covid-19 infections, then parents would be more reassured of sending their children to school. This assurance will also be beneficial to educators equally at risk.

I beg the question, who’s going to ensure that our children wear face masks while playing in public, and wash their hands regularly?