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Principals and other officials will not be at school from Monday: union

Principals and other members of school management teams (SMTs) will not be reporting for duty on Monday.
Principals and other members of school management teams (SMTs) will not be reporting for duty on Monday.
Image: 123RF/paylessimages

It's official: principals and other members of school management teams (SMTs) will not be reporting for duty on Monday.

At least, so says teachers' union Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU).

This is what was agreed on during a virtual meeting between teacher unions and the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, on Saturday, according to Chris Klopper, SAOU CEO.

In a news flash to members on Saturday afternoon, SAOU said that SMTs would now be expected to return to school on May 18, and teachers on May 25. The previous proposed date for the return of the SMTs was May 11 and May 18 for teachers. Grade 12 and 7 pupils were expected to return on June 1.

Klopper said that Motshekga had intimated that the department and the nine provincial education departments required another week to be able to provide Covid-19 essentials.

He said that his union had also requested more feedback on, among other things:

  • A special focused catch-up plan for grade 12s in the event that June 1 is not feasible for the whole system;
  • a progress report on curriculum trimming for all grades and subjects;
  • the position of staff members who were over 60 years of age as well as those teachers with underlying medical problems;
  • staff members who were pregnant;
  • pupils and teachers from neighbouring countries;
  • school hostels; and
  • what to do with young children of working parents when they return to work.

Meanwhile, at the eleventh hour the Gauteng education department informed SMTs not to report for duty on Monday.

In a circular dated Saturday, May 9, the department's head of department, Edward Mosuwe, said that principals or their deputies will be required to be available from Wednesday to receive the procured personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the programme for the disinfection of schools.

“A delivery schedule of the PPEs will be communicated with principals of schools in due course. It is important to note that schools will not reopen unless the basic essentials agreed to are in place.”

Mosuwe said that other members of the SMTs as well as teachers will be advised of the date when they will be expected to return to school.

He said they were working towards ensuring that all schools are ready to open at the same time.

“However, due to varying scope and degree of deep cleaning and disinfection required by the different schools, some schools will not be ready for resumption of schooling by the agreed date.

“As such, these schools will open as and when readiness has been verified and affected schools and parents will be informed accordingly.”

He said that the disinfection of all schools will commence on May 18 and will be completed before June 1.

The teacher unions will have a follow-up meeting with  Motshekga again on Monday when a further progress report will be provided by her.

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