Paula received this from one of our church members this morning, she is a teacher in a local primary school in a poorer community.  It is one of many similar WhatsApp messages from her over the last three weeks about the appalling circumstances at her school.

The government are supposed to have given each school the necessary resources and training to enable them to open safely in the midst of this pandemic, as well as putting clear protocols in place in the event of any Covid-19 infections

Sadly the truth is something else as teachers like this are actually providing their own PPE, cleaning their own classes in their own time, as well as helping the children cope with the frightening reality of it all.

This is a tragically farcical situation with the infection statistics in schools just in the Western Cape being truly awful (see below).

A collective of teachers, parents, unions and education experts warned against reopening schools too soon and asked the government to delay their reopening. Here we are three weeks on and the situation for those on the frontline is terrifying

Our church member is having to provide her own PPE and cleansing materials because the school doesn't have enough. But also, the school knows that she will always go the extra mile for her learners and once again they are relying on her to do so, causing her meagre salary to stretch even further and increase her debt burden.

The physical and mental burden on her is horriffic as she has to spend her own time and money ensuring her class is safe for her and her pupils, and yet day after day she faithfully turns up at school and puts in another tough shift to help the kids she is passionate about do the best they can.

As a school develops a Covid-19 case they are supposed to close for thorough cleansing and sanitising but again the reality is that it simply isn't happening in the schools in poorer communities.

The lack of leadership in this is very poor and for government ministers to then blame the people is disingenuous. As of 27 June the national figures for Covid-19 in schools stood at: 523 pupils and 1169 staff having tested positive. In the Western Cape the numbers are: 134 pupils and 557 teachers testing positive with 332 schools temporarily closed for cleaning. These are the official statistics so we know from people like our church member that the real numbers of infections are far higher. Scarily, the government aren't even talking about the deaths amongst the teaching staff, despite the evidence showing that the death rate is real.

In the absence of leadership, we really need to stand together in prayer for our children and their teachers who are genuine heroes.

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