Teachers’ Union (SADTU) says it does not agree with the decision by the Basic Education Department and the National Coronavirus Command Council that school management teams and educators return to work on the 25th of this month and 1 February respectively.

SADTU has, however, welcomed the decision to delay the reopening of schools until 15 February. SADTU says teachers are just as vulnerable to the pandemic as learners.

The video below is on the Basic Education Department’s decision to postpone the reopening of schools: 

SADTU spokesperson Nomusa Cembi says they will engage the department on the matter.

“The unions were not consulted on this matter and we wonder what informed this decision because the SMT’s are as vulnerable to the pandemic as everybody else. We thought that this was done in order to ensure that the health system copes, so for the department to say SMT’s should go back on the 25th and teachers on the 5th we feel it’s going to defeat the purpose. We would have loved teachers to go back almost the same time as the learners or if not at least a week before. We are going to engage further with the Department and raise this matter of SMT’s and educators coming in whilst the pandemic will be at its peak.”

The video below video is the media briefing on the reopening of schools:

DA rejects delays in reopening of schools 

In a statement, the DA says it is concerned about the impact the halting of the reopening of schools will have on learners.

“The DA is concerned about the impact that this delay could have on the psychological and academic development of learners. The year was already set to start quite late and a further delay could cost learners dearly, with no plan to recover the lost time in learning.”

The official opposition party says that instead of halting schooling for two weeks, the Department should have better equipped them with proper resources to keep learners and teachers safe.

The DA has reiterated its call on the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education to be briefed by health experts, the Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Departments of Basic Education and Health to ensure that the delay of the reopening of schools is based on empirical proof and not what it terms “political whim”.