As schools prepare to re-open on June 1, teachers remain concerned
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga made the much-anticipated announcement on Wednesday, putting an end to weeks of uncertainty. She said the Cabinet and National Command Council had approved the plan for teachers to return to school on May 25, and pupils from June 1. Grade seven and 12 pupils would be the first to return to schools, in the phased-in approach by the department.
Schools were closed on March 18 as part of the government’s first attempt at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Motshekga said the delivery of Covid-19 essentials, such as sanitisers, masks and water, was being done ahead of the reopening of schools.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said they had information that “there are certain districts where nothing has been delivered”.
Naptosa provincial spokesperson Thirona Moodley said the KZN education department started distributing cleaning products and sanitisers but more effort in the delivery of essentials was required.
National Teachers’ Union (Natu) president Alan Thompson said there was no evidence that the majority of provinces would be ready to reopen schools on June 1. He also said water and sanitation was an area of big concern.
He said the Water and Sanitation Department had struggled to provide water tanks to communities and, once delivered, to keep them filled.
“How will the department be able to deliver on water provisioning to schools, when it has not yet been able to provide water to communities?”
Thompson said the provincial presentations failed to specify the arrangements for scholar transport and provinces were not ready to provide psychosocial help.
“Natu is convinced the country is still not ready to reopen its schools as precautionary measures are not yet in place,” he said.