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‘Teachers are confused’ - Sadtu wants clarity on how to deal with coronavirus

Sadtu, which represents more than 260,000 teachers across the country, has called on the education department to give clear instructions.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

PRETORIA - The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Tuesday said its members were confused about how they should respond to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among children.

Sadtu represents more than 260,000 teachers across the country.

Its general secretary Mugwena Maluleke has called on the education department to give clear instructions.

“For now, teachers are confused, they don’t know what to do and if they see the minister is angry at the school that has taken the precaution, they are going to be too cautious, unfortunately, even when they see the signs in terms of reporting that. We need school principals and teachers that are going to be proactive.”

DEEP CLEANSING PROCESS

Grayston Preparatory School in Sandton said it would follow a deep cleansing process of its premises on Tuesday following a suspected case of COVID-19.

The school was closed on Monday after it emerged that a teacher came into contact with one of the people who tested positive for the virus following a recent trip to Italy.

It said the staff member would remain in self-imposed isolation for the quarantine period and she would be guided by health officials on any future protocols.

WATCH: Four more South Africans test positive for COVID-19

The education department's Steve Mabona said classes were expected to resume on Wednesday.

“They will be doing what will be referred to as deep cleaning, just in preparation of learners that will be coming back on Wednesday. They have been in meetings with our officials, the Department of Education, health, just to take guidance.”

Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said any decision on whether to shut schools amid COVID-19 fears would be guided by health officials.

On Friday, Cowan House Preparatory School in KwaZulu-Natal suspended classes after the parents of two pupils at the school tested positive, the pupils, however, tested negative.

Motshekga said while there have been several cases of the coronavirus that have been confirmed in the country, schools and parents should not panic.

WATCH: 'Consult the Health Department before closing' - Motshekga tells school amid Coronavirus suspicions

“We can’t have our own protocols saying, if there is a teacher coughing, close the school. It’s not helpful because maybe they are closing the school with infected kids already.”

Motshekga has urged schools to work with the education and health departments in dealing with any suspected cases of the virus.

“They must assist us in working in a very systematic and ordinarily manner so that we don’t make mistakes.”