Home South African Education dept must be ready for second wave of Covid-19, warn unions

Education dept must be ready for second wave of Covid-19, warn unions

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Teachers unions say measures must be in place for a possible second wave of the coronavirus next year after pupils return to school

File picture: Courtney Africa / African News Agency(ANA)

TEACHERS unions have warned that the Department of Basic Education must have contingency measures in place in case of a possible second wave of Covid-19 next year when schools reopen in January.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said that they want the department to be ready for this.

This follows the latest reports about a possible second wave of Covid-19 in the next few months.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced early in the week that schools would reopen on January 25 next year.

This comes after the extension of the academic year following the outbreak of the coronavirus, which sees matric examinations starting on November 5 and concluding on December 15.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said measures would have to be in place for a possible second wave of Covid-19 next year after pupils return to school.

Maluleke said the department had indicated it would follow international standards if there was a second wave and close schools in hot-spot areas.

The department would not take a blanket approach and close all the schools.

“Generally, they will not close the schools across the country, but they will follow the science, and not use the blanket approach,” said Maluleke.

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel said the department must not be caught off guard if a second wave hits the country.

He said there must be contingency plans by the department to manage the education system during the second wave.

“What we would like to see is the planning for 2021, the warning about the second wave. All our people are telling us about the fact that we must be careful about the second wave between January and February. There must be contingency measures by the department. There must not be surprises. We have already put it on the table that we must talk about it. I am not a person who wants to talk about surprises, let’s talk about it,” said Manuel.