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CWAO and COVID-19 Worker Rights


20 June 2020

The Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) and the Simunye Workers Forum (SWF) support the call for working class communities, parents, learners and teachers to boycott all schools.

Infections and deaths are rising
At the time of writing, SA had recorded 87,715 positive cases of coronavirus, with 39 890 active cases. An increase of 4 078 new cases was recorded in just one day, on 17 June. The number of people who have died from the virus in SA is now 1 831!

Children, teachers and families are in danger

The government decided to open schools while infections are sky-rocketing because it says that children will not get sick from the virus. But the truth is that Covid-19 is a new disease and no-one knows its full impact on children yet.

What we do know is that many working class children in South Africa have ‘comorbidities’ – other diseases and immune system problems that make them vulnerable if they contact Covid-19. We also know that many teachers also have comorbidities or are of an age that makes them extremely vulnerable.

We still do not know how often children transmit the disease to others. The government’s decision to send children to school is completely reckless and puts their vulnerable family members at risk.

Children and teachers are already getting sick
Schools are already closing in many provinces because of positive cases amongst learners and teachers, according to media reports.
Gauteng: 54 schools were closed in the first week after the reopening.
Western Cape: 20 schools were closed in the first week, 98 teachers and 1800 children tested positive.
Eastern Cape: 29 schools were closed in the first week.
KZN: At least 7 schools were closed during the first week.
North West: 14 schools have closed since schools reopened.

The academic year is already cancelled
Minister Angie Motshekga has cancelled the 2020 academic year for matriculants. On 1 June, Motshekga confirmed that the June examinations for the matrics is postponed to November/December 2020. She also admits these exams may not happen. This effectively cancels the academic year for learners of all other grades at public schools.

Only private schools who have migrated to e-learning will be able to finish. Yet another reason we support the boycott for ALL schools!

As part of the Covid-19 Working Class Campaign we support the following demands:

We call on workers, learners, teachers and parents to support the national stay away from schools. By organising locally we can defend our communities from the coronavirus and ensure our schools won’t open to other grades on 1 July. We call on progressive teachers to help build alternative forms of teaching and learning in our communities.

Lives over profits!
Lives over the academic year!
Education does not end at school!

For more information contact Lynford Dor (CWAO Media and Education)
074 891 0438


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