The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal says the extension for school staff to return to schools under Level 3 lockdown is not enough to prepare for the return of pupils.
“We believe Thursday is too soon. Also, what is not clear now is whether learners will still be expected to come back on Monday, 1 June,” Sadtu KZN provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said on Monday.
On Sunday, Premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the planned return of staff to schools in the province had been delayed until Thursday as the education department works to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to all schools.
He said some schools had to be thoroughly cleaned and that the delivery of all essentials, especially PPEs, had to be completed.
Earlier on Sunday, Sadtu KZN had joined the voice of many other unions calling its members to stay home and not return on Monday.
Teachers need more time
On Monday, Caluza said teachers were meant to be given two weeks to prepare for the return of pupils and that even Thursday’s return was premature.
“The initial plan of the department was to give at least two weeks for teachers to prepare for the return of learners. One day will not be enough to prepare,” she said.
She said Sadtu was “on the ground visiting districts in the province to monitor” PPEs and checking on the progress of the preparations.
“We indicated by the evidence we had that schools were not ready.”
Caluza said that, while they were happy with the postponement, they still had concerns.
“We were happy when the department and the premier postponed because it meant they were agreeing with Sadtu that they were not ready. More has to be done.”
She said lives could not be risked.
MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu said the department noted the concerns of the unions.
He added that the union and the department agreed on certain matters, but not all.
Mshengu said only school principals would attend school on Monday to receive PPEs. Other staff would return on Thursday.