Schools Set To Reopen On Monday Says Union

Teacher's union Naptosa says schools should commence as scheduled on Monday 26 July but that schools in KwaZulu-Natal are unable to reopen as planned due to property damage caused by last week's violence and looting. 

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The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel says that schools should reopen as scheduled on Monday 26 July, after schools went on a winter holiday which was brought forward by President Cyril Ramaphosa with a level 4 lockdown due to South Africa's increasing cases of Covid-19.

Naptosa as well as other teacher's unions met with the Department of Basic Education to discuss the plans and preparations for daily classes to commence at primary schools from Monday, 2 August. 

"There is an indication that should the [lockdown] alert level come down, which we all expect over the weekend, then of course schools will open on the 26th because it will still be in the old framework of rotation," says Manuel. 

He says that the first week from the 26 July to the 2 August gives schools that still have a few issues time to iron them out before full-time attendance is due to commence.

Primary school learners (Grades R - 7) are expected to return to the normal, full-time school timetabling from the week of 2 August. This comes after data and research has shown that the 'rotation' system has not been an adequate replacement for full-tie learning, as students have fallen behind on the curriculum by almost a whole year. 

Manuel says unions are concerned about schools who do not have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure a safe return of students to the schools. There are also concerns about the schools in KwaZulu-Natal that have been damaged during the past week of violence and looting in the province. Manuel says that 139 schools were damaged and that one of these schools will be unable to open in the near future. 

During these violent protests furniture, equipment, teaching and learning gadgets and nutrition programme meals were stolen from schools. While some schools were also torched leaving the department to seek funds in order to issue mobile classrooms for the reopening of schools. 

"One of the sad issues is that the province simply just doesn't have money they say to do all the repairs that they ought to," says Manuel. 

He says that a meeting will be held to take the final report on the full cohort of primary school students who are returning to schools. 

Unions are assessing the readiness of schools but say they are in support of the return to full schooling, as long as health and safety regulations are followed to keep staff and students safe. 

 

 

 

 

 

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