Some schools not ready for second phase of reopening: Survey

Some schools across the country have indicated that they are not ready for the second phase of the. According to a survey conducted by unions, the South African Democratic Teachers Union, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa and South African Teachers’ Union, 25 % of schools across South Africa reported not having enough water for COVID-19 related sanitizing. In the Eastern Cape, 70% of the schools that need water tanks have not yet received them

Grades 3, 6, 10, and 11 are expected to return to school on 6 July. Schools that participated in the survey do not have a full complement of teachers and 23% have not been able to construct a timetable because of classroom and teacher shortages.

“As many as 47% of schools nationally do not have a full teaching complement because 10-20% of teachers are not reporting because of comorbidities.”

Meanwhile, the Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) has reiterated its call for teachers not to return to work. The union says some of its members have contracted COVID-19 and some have already died. It is attributing this to ‘unsafe schools that are without Personal Protective Equipment. ‘

“We are also aware that a number of schools have hidden confirmed COVID-19 cases from their employees in order to keep schools open, this further endangers the lives of teachers and learners in these schools,” says the union in a statement. 

Schools reopened for grade 7 and 12s on June 8th after they were shut down to curb the spread of the coronavirus. EUSA says it is within workers’ rights to refuse to go to work if safety measures are not put in place.

“The employer has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees and employees can withdraw their labour should they reasonably feel that that is not the case at their workplace. We are unapologetic about this,” the union’s statement further reads.