Department of Education not ready for reopening of schools: SADTU

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The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) says the Department of Basic Education is not ready to reopen schools.

The union says the department has failed to meet the minimum requirements to ensure safety to avoid contracting COVID-19.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced on the 30th of April that School Management Teams should report to schools this coming Monday, 11 May 2020.

Proposed dates below:

The minister committed that non-negotiables such as fumigation and disinfection of schools would be implemented before they open.

However, SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke has advised their members not to report for duty until all precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus have been adhered to.

“We have noticed and observed that they are not ready. They are ill-prepared for the opening of schools. They have not as yet procured the personal protective equipment such as masks, sanitisers and all the other requirements in terms of alert 4 requirements in the regulations. So they are not obliged to go to work on Monday. They should not go to work unless those things are there and there is evidence those things are there,” says Maluleke.

In a media briefing last week, Motshekga said that a central consideration is that the reopening of schools do not contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, but also that the academic year is saved.

She added that the proposed changes to the 2020 academic calendar still needs to be approved by Cabinet.

Motshekga said, “We have to, by law … as soon as there’s approval by Cabinet, we have to gazette the school calendar. We’re not able to operate with a tentative school calendar. The first cohort – if we’re able to do all the things that we’re supposed to do in May – we’re proposing that with the Grades 7 and Grade 12’s we start in June. It’s a proposal because the NCC wants us to come back to them perhaps around the 18th to tick all the boxes.”

Motshekga has proposed a possible reopening of schools, but only for Grades 7 and 12 on 1 June.

In this video, the reopening of schools is under discussion