The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) in the North West has urged its members not to return to work on Monday as expected. This after the provincial Department of Education said it was ready for the reopening of schools.
Teachers are expected to report for duty on Monday, following the pronouncement by Minister for Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, that teachers are required to return to school on 25 May, while Grade 7 and 12 pupils will return to school on 1 June.
SADTU held a Special Provincial Executive Committee meeting on Friday to process a report on the state of readiness for the reopening of schools that it received from the provincial education department.
MEC for education, Wendy Matsemela, said the department has a COVID-19 plan that has non-negotiable aspects that will not be compromised.
“Our COVID-19 plan has non-negotiables which our department committed itself to all stakeholders that we are going to comply with. The non-negotiables entail the cleaning of schools, provisioning of the Personal Protective Equipment to learners, teachers and department officials (masks, gloves, sanitizers, and thermometers to be used for screening),” the MEC said in a statement.
However, SADTU’s provincial secretary, Els Themba said the union has told members not to return to work because the department is not ready for the reopening of schools after considering the following factors.
· The majority of schools are still not cleaned.
· Some educators have not received permits to travel across provinces and probably locally.
· The PPE already supplied are not sufficient to cover all employees expected on duty on Monday.
· Screeners are not yet appointed in most of the schools, if not all.
. Some schools are without running water and no alternatives are provided to date.
· There are no clear guidelines provided to deal with comorbidities to date.
Themba further called on the department to refrain from misleading the public by claiming that it is ready for reopening schools.
Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission in the North West said it received complaints about the reopening of schools and is still engaging the department on them.