The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union has raised concerns about two circulars released by the North West Department of Education calling for school management teams (SMTs) to report for work this week without first consulting the union about its state of readiness. The teachers’ union said the department’s call for the SMT’s to report on Monday the 18th is premature because they have not taken into account all the safety precautions in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety and the COVID – 19 regulations.
“As the union we are highly disappointed and disturbed by these contradicting circulars, which seeks to confuse and frustrate our members and with total disregard of the regulations as espoused in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that No worker should enter the workplace before the workplace is thoroughly cleaned,” SADTU’s secretariat said in a statement.
SADTU said it rejected the two circulars asking teachers and school management teams to return to work this week.
“We strongly advise our members not to report to schools on the said date until the department demonstrate its state of readiness,” said SADTU.
“We have also noted the correspondence inviting “all employees to attend screening training” from Bojanala District and call on SADTU members not to attend that exercise which seeks to turn educators to screening personnel. We call on the department of Education in the province to give due respect to the School Governing Bodies as legislated statutory bodies and desist from dictating to them and viewing them as “Cleaners” of schools. We stand firm that our members should not report for work until their safety is guaranteed.”
Meanwhile, the KwaZulu Natal Department of Education has announced plans to ‘deep clean’ all schools to ensure its readiness to reopen next month.
“The Department of Education will embarked on a rigorous sanitization, disinfection and deep cleaning of schools to prepare for the re-opening of schools”, said the department in a statement.
To get the cleaning done, Principals of schools and School Governing bodies have been instructed to source the service of co-operatives for a three-month period for the process of disinfection, sanitization and deep cleansing of schools.
“Clean and disinfect bathrooms, classrooms, kitchens and staff offices and toilet surfaces at least once a day,” said the Department.
People who will be cleaning the schools are expected to wear utility gloves, masks and aprons to clean and disinfect.
The KwaZulu Natal Education Department has also shared the amount that will be spent on the cleaning of schools, which range from R150 per day for a small school with 9 classrooms to R300 per day for Mega schools with over 25 classrooms and hostels.
“Funds will be transferred to schools on the basis of proof of awards and invoices submitted to District officers”, said the Department.
(Compiled by Inside Education staff)