The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) says they are of the view that before sending children to school on a full-time basis, the third wave of COVID-19 needs to be observed.

This comes after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gazetted and issued directives which state that primary school learners must return to daily school attendance from July 26, 2021.

Sadtu says psychologically teachers are affected as the numbers keep rising in schools.

Sadtu General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke says they will review the situation as they observe the third wave.

Maluleke says, “What preparations are going to be put in place within this particular one-and-an-half-months and the deadline have closed. We’ve got schools that clearly have 60, 70 learners in the classroom, clearly, it’s going to be a problem but obviously, the third one is we need to look at the issue of vaccination.”

Primary schools will go back to full-time face-to-face teaching:

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says they were advised by scientists not to rush high school learners.

Mhlanga says, “We are doing this for the first time since COVID-19 started. We need time to do what needs to be done ahead of learners returning but also to align to the calendar so that when schools close we all prepare for the full return of primary schools on the 26 of July 2021, the high schools will come later.”

“There is an intention to return them as well but the science right now does indicate that the risk is much higher with older children that is why we are starting with primary school children,” added Mhlanga.

Parents worry about the normal resumption of classes for primary school pupils:

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says COVID-19 is a harsh reality for children in South Africa.

The agency says children risk becoming its biggest victims.

UNICEF South Africa representative Christine Muhigana says many caregivers have also lost their livelihoods, making it difficult for them to attend to their children’s needs.