SCHOOL Management Teams (SMT) across South Africa will resume their duties this week in preparation for reopening of schools in February.
SMTs include the principals, education assistants, general assistants and non-teaching staff.
This comes after the Department of Basic Education delayed the reopening of schools by another two in the wake of the second wave of coronavirus.
The department said it was helping ease pressure on the healthcare system in the country as the number of cases was increasing rapidly.
Last week, the education department released Departmental Circular 01 of 2021titled: “The return of educators and school support staff to schools for the 2021 academic year amidst covid-19 pandemic”.
The circular states that teachers will return to school on February 01 and all learners on February 15 February.
“Educators and/or support staff who fail to report for duty as stipulated without a valid and approved reason subject themselves to disciplinary action being taken against them,” said the department in a statement.
The circular has also put a stop to private schools that insisted on opening on an earlier date, saying the instruction from the department has not been yet gazetted.
After issuing the circular, the department said any school that is found to be operating will face the full might of the law.
The department added that the health and safety of both staff and learners remained a priority even when they returned to school during the second wave of the coronavirus.
“The department would also like to appeal to all staff members to please ensure that we all continue to adhere to all the health and safety measures that have been communicated to you and your staff,” it said.
The department further said that it needs to ensure that schools are safe working environments and those individuals that are not adhering to the measures need to change their attitude for the benefit of all.
The decision by the department to return SMTs back to schools has been slammed by the South Africa Principals Association, saying they are worried about the earlier return of SMTs while the numbers of COVID-19 infections are increasing each day.
The association said they are busy trying to engage the department to revise the dates for return of SMTs and teachers.
(SOURCE: INSIDE EDUCATION)