WCED HOD closes Western Cape schools ahead of severe weather warning

Statement by Brian Schreuder, Head of Education Western Cape

After extensive consultation with all roleplayers and at the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Management and SA Weather Service, I have taken the unprecedented decision in the interest of learner and educator safety to close schools in the Western Cape tomorrow, 7th June 2017.

All WCED learner transport will also be suspended tomorrow, 7th June 2017.

Provincial Disaster Management and the South African Weather Service briefed cabinet on the possible impact of the severe weather.

We were informed from the South African Weather Service that the Western Cape will experience gale force winds and heavy rains over an extended period tomorrow (Wednesday, 7 June) during a storm that is expected to make landfall tonight (Tuesday, 6 June).

At this stage, current weather forecast methodology predicts:

  • High winds of up to 90km per hour or higher are possible in some areas;
  • Rains of up to 50mm or more over a 24 hour period across various areas;
  • Very high seas are expected with swells reaching up to 10 - 12m
Acting on the advice of the Weather Service and The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre (WCDMC), we have decided to close schools on Wednesday, 7 June, as a precautionary measure.

Our primary concern is the safety of learners and staff. The storm may damage some schools, which could place learners and staff at risk, as well as those who commute to school, especially in rural areas.

We have been advised that the storm will abate by Thursday, 8 June. Schools must therefore reopen on Thursday.

We are cognisant that this decision will disrupt school programmes tomorrow, but we will be working with schools to ensure that the programme returns to normal and we request their understanding and cooperation in the circumstances.

Principals can report any storm damage to schools to the Safe Schools Call Centre at 0800 45 46 47. We appreciate the concern and cooperation of our principals and will work closely with schools to deal with issues resulting from the storm.

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