Coronavirus | Parents respond as Ramaphosa closes schools
Ramaphosa announced that schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March 2020.
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We expected President Ramaphosa to implement some strong measures to help counter the spread of the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus that has the world in its grasp, but for some parents the closing of schools is a step too far.

Ramaphosa announced that schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March 2020, two days before public school holidays were due to start this week.

He added that they'll stay closed until after the Easter weekend (10 - 13 April) and since public schools were due to go back on 31 March, this makes the holidays nearly three weeks longer overall. 

The president explained that the time would be made up by making the mid-year holidays a week shorter. 

See the original 2020 school holiday calendar here

Many parents took to social media immediately to express their concerns.

One concerned mom shared: "Daycare is expensive - extra week not budgeted for. Most private daycare costs R150 per day. I have 3 kids for a month. Not all of us have enough leave to cover this period alone."

Another parent shared "If aftercare closes as well it could be difficult for parents and work, and companies can't have all the staff off." 

Overall though, the majority of parents seem to agree that it is in the best interests of the children and teachers, and of stopping the spread of the virus, to close schools now.

In a Twitter poll conducted before the announcement, 62% of respondents said they were ready for school closures, while the rest said they were not.

However, in another poll 68% of respondents expressed concern that they won't get the time off work to watch the kids. 

Will closing schools prevent the pandemic from taking its toll on South Africans? While this has proven to be an effective measure in the past, only time will tell...

In the meantime, here is some advice about how to tell your kids about why the holidays are sooner, and longer, than planned, and how to keep them safe over the coming weeks:

WATCH: Six tips for explaining the coronavirus to children

What to tell your kids about coronavirus, and how to help them stay safe 

WATCH | Kids, learn how to wash your hands properly with these catchy tunes 

Eight tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus

Stay up to date on everything #coronavirus here

Chat back:

Tell us how you feel about all of this, from explaining the outbreak to your kids, to keeping them home from school for longer.

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