1 min read.Updated: 20 Jun 2021, 05:38 AM ISTFakir Hassen, PTI
Those to be vaccinated include all educators as well as administrative and support staff at all public schools, irrespective of their age
The development comes amid an increasing number of schools shutting down in the past week
South Africa has launched an ambitious plan to vaccinate 582,000 teachers for Covid-19 protection within 14 days, starting from June 23, officials said on Saturday.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gave details of the plan at a media briefing amid an increasing number of schools shutting down in the past week due to rising infections among both teachers and learners.
In the economic and financial hub of Gauteng province alone, at least 20 schools had to close their doors, with some private schools resorting to online learning and others running classes on different days of the week for learners to avoid crowded classrooms.
Some experts said the number of infections and deaths in the province’s third wave is now higher than in both the previous waves combined.
“Doing business under Covid-19 means that one needs to also strike a balance between saving lives and livelihoods. In the case of the Basic Education Sector, this means that we need to do all that we can to prevent a potential academic disaster.
“We believe that schools must remain open and in saying so we are not insensitive to the concerns raised about the rising infections," Motshekga said.
The minister said that her Department would handle Covid-19 cases according to a differentiated strategy, on a province-by-province, school-by-school basis, taking guidance from advisory bodies and government.
“There have to be scientific reasons for all decisions that are taken," she said.
Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that vaccines for the Basic Education Sector had been secured and delivered.
“The vaccines have arrived, and are in the process of being distributed to all provinces," Motshekga said, adding that key stakeholders, including teacher unions, national associations responsible for governance in public schools, learners with special education needs, independent schools, and the South African Principals Association had been informed of the vaccination plans and were all in agreement.
Those to be vaccinated include all educators as well as administrative and support staff at all public schools, irrespective of their age.
The minister said vaccination was voluntary but urged everyone to take it so that everybody can be protected.
“The vaccination of everybody in the sector is an opportunity to normalise schooling and begin the process of mitigating the impact of Covid-19," Motshekga concluded.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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