- Education unions call for the immediate closure of schools as South Africa jumps to 6th place in global Covid-19 infections
- The unions want schools to close until August and only reopen if it is safe to do so
- This decision came about after 5 labour unions met with Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga
5 education unions have come to the decision that schools in South Africa must close immediately.
Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) namely; the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), South African Teachers Union (SAOU), National Teachers Union (NATU) and Professional Educators Union (PEU) had a meeting with the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Briefly.co.za reported that unions believed that systems are not in place to guarantee the safety of its members and was already under a great amount of strain.
"That the department has not been able to protect teachers, learners and education support personnel by providing them with the necessary protective materials at all schools. The scientists have predicted that the virus was reaching its peak and is growing exponentially.
"Cases of infection in the country have exceeded 300 000, making South Africa the sixth worst-hit nation. The alarming increase is happening during the winter period, which is also known as influenza season," said the unions.
New evidence has emerged from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has said that the virus is airborne according to Sowetan Live.
"We value and are heeding to the call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on how to manage the reopening of the schools especially when there is no proper management of the transmission at schools and the disruptions caused by the reopening and closing of schools. The reported cases and closure of schools is causing a lot of fear and anxiety and affecting teaching and learning at our schools. The system is not capable of attending to the psychological effects at schools. The impact of this is demonstrated by the level of stress experienced by both our teachers and principals," said the unions.
The unions believe that schools should only reopen in August and that the registration for first-year university students should only start in 2021.
"Schools should re-open at the end of August 2020, subject to review based on the development of the virus. The department should provide teachers with the necessary tools to work from home and prepare work for the reopening of schools and return of learners . Prioritize Grade 12 and look at different modes to assist them while they are at home. Grade 12 learners should return on August 17, the department and stakeholders to discuss the curriculum post this calendar year, focusing on reading for the remaining months of 2020. Stakeholders and the department should engage the department of higher education to consider the registration for first years in 2021."
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane thinks it is better to sacrifice the academic year and save lives.
The One South Africa movement has appealed against a judgement by the North Gauteng High Court which set aside Maimane's application to prevent schools from reopening.
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi has tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
In a statement issued by the government on the situation, it was revealed that the minister has had a number of close calls with the virus:
"This was the Minister’s 4th round of tests to be conducted since the outbreak of the virus, and the first to return positive. Minister Nxesi is in self-isolation and will continue to work from home. All members of the office of the Minister, who have come in contact with him will also undergo testing."
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