Three quarters of schools nationwide have not yet received regulations on how safety and health measures should be implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Very few schools have already received masks, water tanks and disinfectants.
This is shown by a survey conducted by several education unions conducted last week among almost 10,000 public schools (40% of schools) nationwide. This survey shows how little has been done so far to get schools ready to receive the first group of learners by June 1st. In many cases, schools have not yet been informed of what is expected of them.
Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday that all processes are ready to ensure that learners and teachers can return to school within the next two weeks.
However, the survey shows the following:
- Only 22% of schools have already received regulations on how health and safety should be applied at schools.
- The majority of schools (60%) say their circuit manager has not yet contacted the school to explain what is expected of them. In the North West and Gauteng, the least schools have indicated that they have contact with their circuit manager.
- Almost half (44%) of schools indicated that they did not have sufficient access to water. More than 60% of schools in the Eastern Cape say they do not have enough water to wash their hands and keep the school clean.
- 39% of schools that rely on water tanks have not yet received it.
- Only 8% of schools say their offices and administrative spaces have already been cleaned and disinfected. The Northern and Western Cape have so far made the most progress in this regard.
- Only 5% of classrooms have so far been disinfected at schools nationwide.
- 92% of schools indicated that they did not have enough detergents to clean the classrooms daily.
- Almost all schools (99%) indicated that they did not receive enough face masks so that each learner and teacher had at least two. Only 6% of schools have already received enough hand cleaners.
“The survey shows that there is a particular lag with the imposition of measures in rural provinces such as Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape,” the report states. Trade unions, including the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADOU), the South African Teachers Union (SAOU) and the National Professional Teachers’ Organization of South Africa (Naposa), say in a joint statement, this survey shows a clear gap between what the minister of education and what is really happening at ground level.
“If protective equipment is not delivered to schools on time and classes are not properly cleaned before teachers and learners return, teachers and learners will put their lives at risk by entering these schools,” the statement says.