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Principals uneasy about order to return to school

Principals uneasy about order to return to school.
Principals uneasy about order to return to school.
Image: PaylessImages

Some school management teams across the country will not report for work today as personal protective equipment (PPE) materials have not been delivered. Last week teacher unions issued a joint statement stating that their members were not going to return to work if the safety material was not delivered.

Sowetan spoke to several principals who asked to remain anonymous. A secondary school principal in Soshonguve, Pretoria, said it was only today that PPEs were going to be delivered.

"I don't have a problem with returning to work as long as all the safety measures are in place. The department told me I have to be at school on Monday (today) to accept the PPEs. I will go to school to see what will happen," he said.

Another principal from a secondary school in Soweto said he received a call from the department of education about the delivery of PPEs.

"I am not prepared to return to work without the safety material. I have already received a call from the department but they did not say when they were going to deliver the material, so I will wait for their call," he said.

A primary school principal from Peddie in Eastern Cape said she was concerned about her safety and that of her staff.

"We have not received the safety materials and I am worried that most of my staff members are on chronic medication. Another concern is that we have seen in the news health workers being affected by the virus. How safe are we going to be at schools? We will be reporting back to work because that will be a directive from the employer, not because we are comfortable," she said.

Basil Manuel, the executive director of National Professional Teachers Organisation, said provinces were at various stages of delivering PPEs.

"Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga said during her presentation last week that seven provinces had not yet ordered their PPEs.

"Provinces like Eastern Cape had to divert its order to the department of health and some provinces had to cancel their orders," Manuel said.

Motshekga is expected to brief the public in the state of readiness for the re-opening of schools today.