“We have no choice but to appeal to the department to ensure that all the non-negotiables are delivered to all schools in time. Otherwise, to further contribute to, and exacerbate, the disparities among the South African schools would be irresponsible and indeed unsympathetic to the plight of thousands of our teachers and children.”
The union said it appeared that the department would fail to provide the required PPEs, water, sanitation facilities, ensure social distancing and employ substitute and temporary teachers on time — as it did last year. The non-compliance with health and safety requirements contributed significantly to the rate of Covid-19 in schools, the union suggested.
“Natu appeals to the department to think very carefully about when schools could safely open. We therefore challenge the department to be as focused on saving lives as it is on saving livelihoods. It would appear that, in deciding to keep the economy open, the department does not know where to leave schoolchildren when their parents work. Accordingly, the school is seen to be a necessary tool for babysitting the children.
“Natu is concerned that when these children return from different vacation points after the Christmas break, these schools could turn into super-spreader sites for Covid-19 infections,” said Barnes.