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South Africa teachers worried about second Covid outbreak next year

Johannesburg – Teachers unions have warned that the Department of Basic Education must have contingency measures in place in case of a possible second wave next year when schools re-open in January.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said yesterday they want the department to be ready for this.

This follows the latest reports about a possible second wave of Covid-19 in the next few months.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced early in the week that schools would re-open on January 25 next year.

This comes after the extended academic year after the outbreak of the coronavirus, which sees Matric examinations starting on November 5 and concluded on December 15.

Sadtu General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said measures would have to be in place for a possible second wave of Covid-19 next year after the children return to school.

Maluleke said the department had indicated it would follow international standards if there was a second wave and close schools in hotspot areas.

The department would not take a blanket approach and close all the schools.

“Generally, they will not close the schools across the country, but they will follow the science, and not use the blanket approach,” said Maluleke.

Naptosa Executive Director Basil Manuel said the department must not be caught off guard when the second wave hits the country.

He said there must be contingency plans by the department to manage the education system during the second wave.

“What we would like to see is the planning for 2021, the warning about the second wave. All our people are telling us about the fact that we must be careful about the second wave between January and February. There must be contingency measures by the department. There must not be surprises. We have already put it on the table that we must talk about it. I am not a person who wants to talk about surprises, let’s talk about it,” said Manuel.

Sunday Independent

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