It has been a year since South Africa and the world went into lockdown.
A year ago I wrote the blog The Power of Stepping Away. I feel the same today, and these are the practices that our family use to stay sane and well at this time. This time last year was a very scary time. We were uncertain of what was to come. The forecast by SACEMA was that approximately 375 000 people would die in a few months in South Africa. At the moment we stand at 51 421 in over a year. Continue reading
To whom it may concern
Thank you for your time in meeting with us today. As stated, our main concerns are:
- There are harsher measures for mask wearing in schools than most other work environments, with children having to wear masks for 8 – 15 hours a day especially in boarding house environments, despite children being shown to be low transmitters and only mildly affected and despite the strict measures put in place at schools with health declarations, sanitisation, social distanced seating etc.
- Mental health concerns have been shown to be a far greater risk for children at this time with extended long term negative consequences for them. The prolonged wearing of masks has been shown in multiple studies (linked below) to exacerbate these mental health issues. There are also multiple other health concerns linked to prolonged mask usage that are also of great concern to us.
- There are no scientific or research studies on which the mask mandate is based. At best there is no evidence that prolonged mask usage is helpful in curbing the spread of a virus (see below). At worst there are multiple studies and experiments to reflect that it is in fact Who is taking responsibility and liability for these decisions to mask children for hours on end? When does this end? When can we take off our masks? We cannot just keep them on because we are fearful – this is magical thinking, doing something because we “want to believe” it helps and yet there is so science to back it.
- We realise that government has to change the mask mandate, but schools have a lot more leeway for interpretation as we explore below. Our request is for children to be allowed to take down their masks when seated at their desks as we are allowed to when we sit at restaurants and coffee shops. The medical advisors to the MAC have seen it fit for us to do this – why can children not do this is the classroom?
- We thank you for taking this seriously. Our children’s lives and health sit in your hands. This is an enormous responsibility – we cannot follow blindly. We have to question. We have to research. We have to do what we can.
As I sit down to write today I realised how long it’s been since I last wrote. I, like you, have been trying to navigate this world in which we find ourselves. I don’t want to say “our new normal” as there is nothing “normal” about it. But we are certainly all in a state of grief – many of us have lost loved ones recently, many of us are worried about family and friends who are ill, and all of us are longing for a time when we could sit in a packed theatre and watch a show, walk on the beach, move around without sanitisers and masks, and our children could easily and freely go to school and sport.
Please watch the video version of this letter here
This letter is addressed to you, our Honourable President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, to your cabinet, to the CEOs and the captains of industry in South Africa – black and white, male and female. And everyone in between. It’s also addressed to you, the workers, the nurses, the teachers, the tellers – also black, white, male, female, and everyone in between. And it’s definitely addressed to you, our educationalists, our Heads of Schools, our education leaders. And it’s addressed to the mothers and daughters that I sat with in Alexander township on Friday. The ones who feel forgotten. It’s addressed to each and every South African. Including myself. Continue reading
Dear woman of the world
Make yourself a cup of tea. Find yourself a sunny spot. Put down your worries and your fears for just this moment. Let the world carry on without you for the next 10 minutes. Press play … Continue reading
A reply to this letter on FB from Dr Michael Blackburn
Dear Mike (aka the Anaesthesiologist replying to the physiotherapist whose open letter is doing the rounds on social media)
I was surprised that you didn’t address your letter directly to me (Nicola Aylward) as we know each other, but I’m pleased that you wrote it and challenged me on it, as that’s what I am encouraging – critical thinking and robust debate. So, thank you for your comments and I address them below. Continue reading
An Open Letter to the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angelina Motshekga, the Department of Basic Education, South African epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Prof Salim Abdool Karim, executive director of ISASA Mr Lebogang Montjale, and the ISASA team, Heads of Schools and educational leaders in South Africa as well as the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Department of Health and the advisors to the DBE. Continue reading
I’ve gone down the scroll hole. Continuously scrolling, reading, digesting – articles, charts, graphs, opinions, latest news, health advice. I feel my heart pounding in my chest, my breathing is shallow Continue reading
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