Pretoria – The recent severe weather conditions across the country has led to the temporary closure of 41 schools in the Western Cape.
Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant said an additional 35 schools were also experiencing high levels of absenteeism, with many schools reporting roof leakages and flooding.
However, Grant noted 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.
“Three of the eight education districts have been affected and the 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,” Grant said on Thursday.
The Eden/Karroo 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; 23 other schools have reported high absentee levels and 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, however, learners are continuing with lessons at both of these schools.”
The weather has also affected schools in the Cape Winelands District, where 14 schools have also been forced closed. The main areas affected are Montagu, Bonnievale, Ashton and Worcester, where 11 schools have reported high levels of absenteeism.
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.
The department has requested parents in areas with severe flooding to keep their children at home for safety reasons.
Grant said the district staff is currently making arrangements with schools to adjust school programmes to make up for any time lost.
He added that alternative dates have been arranged to accommodate learners that have missed examinations as the majority of high schools involved have had their examination timetable affected.
“We expect many of these schools to re-open tomorrow [Friday] as flooding subsides and that all our schools will re-open by Monday.” – BuaNews