Education unions have a list of requests that the Department of Basic Education must meet before schools can reopen. The South African Teachers Union (SAOU) even threatened with a court order if the government did not adequately ensure that the necessary safety and health measures were already implemented when schools resumed contact teaching.
In a statement on Tuesday, the SAOU said its executive would approach the court for the enforcement of appropriate orders to ensure the life and health of SAOU members and their learners.
It is still uncertain when schools will reopen when level 4 seclusion comes into play after a news conference from the Department of Education was postponed on Monday. The Minister of Basic Education is expected to address the media on Thursday.
“The voice of SAOU members has clearly stated that the safety and health of learners and teaching staff should be the most important focus when schools reopen after the end of level 5 of the seclusion period. Catching up on lost schoolwork during the last 25 school days is the easiest, but ensuring the safety and health of people, as well as preventing infections, is the most complex, ”the statement says.
More than 21 000 SAOU members participated in an electronic poll. Based on this survey, the SAOU insists that no school may reopen if the following measures are not ready:
- advance sanitation of schools;
- sanitizers and equipment for daily school sanitation;
- provision of masks and hand cleaners to staff and learners;
- provision of thermometers / electronic scanners;
- provision of instructions for maintaining social distance in the school premises;
- isolation spaces for people identified as infected at school;
- satisfactory safety protocol; and
- satisfactory communication to staff, learners and parents.