Monday, 17 January 2022

Bloemfontein: The Free State Department of Education has called on learners and teachers in the province to exercise extreme caution amid heavy rains in QwaQwa.

The department has suspended schooling today in Qwa Qwa due to the heavy downpour that damaged a large part of the region, limiting the movement of residents, including learners and teachers.

Free State Education MEC, Tate Makgoe, said together with other stakeholders, they will on Monday assess the situation and accordingly advise schools in QwaQwa whether the suspension of schooling will continue or not.

“We are painstakingly taking this decision to protect our learners, teachers and non-teaching personnel in our school,” Makgoe said.

The department conveyed condolences to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives due to this tragedy.

In urging learners, teachers and parents to exercise caution, the department has called on them to stay indoors in case of heavy rain and stormy weather.

Those living in low lying areas, which often experience flooding, are also urged to take extra caution and never try to walk, swim or drive through fast-moving flood water.

“If they must travel by car, they must try to identify alternative routes that are not exposed to flooding. Avoid cross flooded areas. It’s best to stop, turn around and go another way. Teachers who are driving should never attempt to cross flooded low water bridges,” the department said.

People are also urged to watch for washed out roads, earth slides, and fallen trees or power lines.

The department has encouraged parents and teachers to help in emphasising these precautionary measures at home and at school.