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Allow learners to commute to SA daily — NACOSEC told

Nthatuoa Koeshe

PARENTS with children enrolled in South African schools have demanded that the government immediately opens borders to allow learners to commute daily.

The parents said this in a virtual meeting with the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) yesterday. NACOSEC called for the meeting after parents raised concern over the secretariat’s suggestion that learners the learners must either move to boarding schools or find accommodation in hostels in South Africa to avoid commuting daily.

This after South African schools opened this week for the first term of 2021.

Some local parents prefer South African schools to local schools that are viewed as inferior.

The opening of schools in South Africa is however, leaving Lesotho leaners at a disadvantage at borders remain closed.

Lesotho is current on the orange level of national lockdown and borders are closed.

Lesotho authorities this week advised parents with children enrolled in South African day schools to find accommodation in the neighbouring country to avoid commuting daily.

NACOSEC communication specialist Rose Moremoholo told the Lesotho Times this week that allowing learners to commute to and from South Africa daily would curtail Lesotho’s efforts of flattening the Covid-19 infections curve. Lesotho breached the 10 000 mark of Covid-19 infections this week.

The number of cases has risen exponentially starting in December 2020 at the peak of the festive season when thousands travelled from South Africa for the holidays. According to the latest statistics, Lesotho has now recorded 10 350 Covid-19 cases and 254 deaths.

“We are still on the orange level of the lockdown which prohibits people from commuting daily and this includes workers and students,” Ms Moremoholo said on Tuesday.

She said parents must therefore find accommodation in South Africa for their children.

“There is still a high risk of spreading virus if we open borders, so parents must find accommodation for their children in South Africa.”

In yesterday’s meeting, some parents suggested that borders must be opened to allow children to commute freely daily. Instead of shutting the learners out, some also suggested the leaners be tested every fortnight to ensure that they limit the chances of spreading Covid-19.

The majority of parents said hostels were super spreaders of Covid-19 and would increase the risk of the children contracting the virus.

“Hostels in south Africa are either full and can act as super spreaders,” one parent said.

Other parents suggested that there must be government level collaboration to come up with a practical solution.

On the other hand, others also suggested that their children be allowed to commute daily but be screened for Covid-19 daily.

In response to the suggestions, Ms Moremoholo yesterday said the matter would now be discussed by the NACOSEC taskforce before being taken to cabinet.

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