Naptosa does not believe all schools will be ready to reopen next Monday

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The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) says the regulations that schools must adhere to once students return to class is a huge undertaking.

It says although the provincial governments are making progress in ensuring schools have the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and health protocols, it does not believe all schools will be ready next Monday.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga postponed the reopening of schools for Grades 7 and 12 learners until next Monday to ensure that all schools have the necessary PPEs and implement protocols.

However, classes have resumed on the original schedule of June 1 in the Western Cape.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel says, “Let us first concentrate on staff. We don’t know yet how many [teachers] have comorbidities and how many are over the age of 60. That may have a major impact on the people physically on the premises.”

“Then of course as you are dividing classes up when the next groups come in and so you can only manage 50%. Just purely managing the complicated nature of being a child, is going to be an enormous undertaking. The cleaning of the place after every lesson … then what about the shared textbooks, what about the books that have to be marked, the virus is going to be on the books,” explains Manuel.

‘More teachers might be hired’

Motshekga says the department might have to approach National Treasury to finance the employment of more teachers once more grades are phased in at schools across the country.

Motshekga has added that teachers belonging to schools that have received PPEs and met health standards – must return to work for induction during the course of this week.

“Schools meeting health standards should open for induction.”

In the video below, Minister Motshekga addresses the media

Interdict against the reopening of schools

The Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) is going to court on Tuesday to interdict the reopening of schools in the country.

The application will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The union representing over 27 000 teachers, has raised concerns over whether all schools will receive PPEs to help guarantee the safety of teachers and learners.

EUSA spokesperson Kabelo Mahlobogwane says, “It took COVID-19 for Angelina to realise that schools in South Africa do not have water and toilets. Angelina will not deliver on any of the promises that they are making. It did not make sense to us on how the department can ignore the fact that schools needed resources for 26 years and deliver all of those resources in one week. It is impossible. And we can even promise you now that by next week Monday schools will not be ready. What she’s rushing off [she’s pushing for] is the tenders for masks as well as the reopening of schools for curriculum.”