2200 teachers with Covid-19 comorbidities told to return to school in the Cape
Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department has urged all of its teachers, who were granted a concession for Covid-19 comorbidities, to report back for duty by Monday.
More than 2 200 teachers in the province have been working from home since schools reopened under lockdown level 3.
Head of department Brian Schreuder said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to move to lockdown level 1 had implications regarding the management of employees with identified comorbidities in their offices and schools.
“The concessions to work from home will no longer apply. This is in line with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Circular of 2020, dated March 11, which states that teachers who had been given concessions during level 2 and 3, need to return to school due to the reduction to level 1.
“In the interests of reasonableness, the WCED has decided that all such staff members must be back at work by no later than March 8,” said Schreuder.
He said the applications for exemption from public schooling for pupils still apply and will apply for the duration of the National State of Disaster.
“The WCED is aware of the stress and anxiety some teachers and staff may be feeling due to the fact that they are to return to school. We want to assure you that health and safety precautions are in place at schools, including the relevant screening and cleaning processes, sanitising of hands, social distancing, and the wearing of masks,” said Schreuder.
The department urged high schools to ensure that all Grade 12s are at school every day and some schools will continue rotational timetables.
National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel said: “The return of teachers with comorbidities was expected after the announcement on Sunday, following a meeting with the Department of Basic Education, as the infection rate or cases are low in this level.
“We are now saying to schools they must ensure the safety of these teachers, so that they don’t fall ill. So health and safety protocols must remain paramount.”