Numerous Western Cape Schools Temporarily Closed Due to Severe Weather Conditions
Media Statement by Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Recent severe weather conditions across South Africa have led to the temporary closure of 41 of our province's schools. An additional 35 schools are also experiencing high levels of absenteeism.
Many of the schools are reporting roof leakages and flooding. However, the majority of closures have been caused by the inability of learners and educators to access their schools because of severe flooding on the roads and bridges en route to their schools.
Western Cape Education officials in all affected areas are closely monitoring the situation and are assessing the damages caused. I am relieved that there have been no reports of any physical injuries.
Three of the eight education districts have been affected. The Eden/Karoo district was the hardest hit, with 23 schools being forced to close. The majority of these schools are in the Mosselbay, Riversdal and George area. Twenty-three other schools have reported high absentee levels.
Leaking roofs and flooded classrooms have forced many of the schools to make alternative arrangements for teaching and learning, such as dividing classes to accommodate learners.
Strong winds resulted in two roofs being blown off at George South Primary and Outeniqua Primary. Learners are continuing with lessons at both of these schools. In the Cape Winelands District, 14 schools are reported to be closed. The main areas affected are Montagu, Bonnievale, Ashton and Worcester. Eleven schools have reported high levels of absent levels.
In the Overberg district, Barrydale experienced severe flooding, with four of its schools forced to close because of the inaccessibility of the roads and one school, B F Oosthuizen PS, reporting high levels of absenteeism. In areas with severe flooding, parents have been requested to keep their children at home for safety reasons.
District staff are currently making arrangements with schools to adjust school programmes to make up for any time lost.
The majority of high schools involved have had their examination timetable affected. Therefore, alternative dates have been arranged to accommodate learners that have missed examinations. We expect many of these schools to re-open tomorrow as flooding subsides.
I am aware that in some areas, the severe weather conditions have not improved and I appeal to all learners, educators and district staff to err on the side of caution and to put their safety first at all times. We expect that all our schools will re-open by Monday.
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