Naptosa says that the current surge in infections will put children and teaching staff at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
THE NATIONAL Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) has supported the National Coronavirus Command Council’s recommendation to postpone the reopening of schools.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has proposed that schools in the country should reopen on February 15, when it hopes the second wave of Covid-19 infections would have declined.
Public schools are currently expected to reopen on January 27.
Naptosa said that the current surge in infections would put children and teaching staff at risk of contracting the virus.
The executive director of Naptosa, Basil Manuel, said the NCCC has indicated that most provinces will only reach their peak in infections in two week’s time.
“The NCCC has indicated that the reopening of schools should be delayed for two weeks and the department as well as other teacher unions has supported this notion,” said Manuel.
“We could not have predicted that we would find ourselves in a worse pandemic in 2021, which would inevitably impact on the reopening of schools for the new academic year. The NCC has indicated that seven of the nine provinces will only reach their peak in two week’s time. That period will coincide with the reopening of schools.
“The latest view of scientists is that, at the expected new peak of the pandemic, it would be unwise for teachers and learners to gather in large groups. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also advised that it would be better to delay the reopening of schools.
“We support the recommendation that the reopening should be delayed until the peak of the infection period has passed, in order to ensure the safety of our learners and teachers as well as additional teaching staff.”
Manuel said they will be in discussion with the Department of Basic Education to ensure that all measures are in place when schools do reopen on the proposed date.
“We will continue to meet with the department to ensure that the teaching environment is safe for everyone. The date for the reopening of the schools is not yet finalised but we will continue to address the general readiness with the department.
“The pressing issues, such as how many learners would return to school and the provision of protective personal equipment, amongst others, need to be addressed before the academic year can commence,” said Manuel.
The Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, was due to host a media briefing on Friday to discuss the state of readiness for the reopening of schools.