The basic education department said it was mulling over the possibility of returning all pupils at primary school level to attend daily. The department said this may be on the cards in the second term due to the severe learning disruptions suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Department spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said a proposal is now being considered by all partners in the education sector and that the Council of Education Ministers is expected to discuss the matter this week. Mhlanga said in the meantime, schools will continue with the rotational approach.
“The Department of Basic Education is ready to welcome learners and teachers back to school for the start of the second term. We are happy that things have gone well and that learners are going back to school but at the same time we want learners to continue to adhere to the health and safety regulations that are in place,” said Mhlanga.
At the same time, The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said it felt that their concerns were not being adequately addressed by the a. As the second term is expected to run until July, Naptosa has raised concerns about the safety of learners and teachers amid fears of a protentional third wave, which could be exacerbated by the looming winter season.
While the department has assured South Africans that measures have been put in place to address the potential spread of COVID-19 in schools, the union’s Basil Manuel said schools could not afford to be complacent.
“Naptosa teachers have had a very, very difficult first term and whilst they’ve had a short break they’ve got concerns with the quality of learning and teaching; especially because of the disruptive nature of (the pandemic) but at the same time they’re also worried about the third wave which we are told is upon our doorstep,” said Manuel.