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Most schools underprepared for return of pupils, says Sadtu

The comments are in stark contrast to assurances given by the Gauteng Department of Education, which said the further re-opening of the sector went ahead largely without any major glitches.

A pupil has his temperature taken at the Iphuteng Primary School in Alexandra, Johannesburg on 24 August 2020. Picture: @educationgp/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Monday said that many schools in the country were underprepared for the influx of pupils, many of whom had been at home for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The comments were in stark contrast to assurances given by the Gauteng Department of Education, which said that the further reopening of the sector went ahead largely without any major glitches.

Millions of pupils returned to their desks after a precautionary break in July to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Sadtu said that it was working through reports from its members who had not yet received personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional substitute teachers to assist with implementing COVID-19 health protocols.

“The report that we got from our members, not only Sadtu but including from other unions, indicated we still have a high number of schools that cannot ensure that there is compliance with health and safety protocols. The challenges are administrative and infrastructure based,” said Sadtu’s secretariat officer, Xolani Fakude.

Fakude said that with some pupils returning to the system after five months, more support was needed to help them adjust to the new normal.

“We’ve got high levels of anxiety on both levels, and there have not been adequate measures put in place to address that,” he said.

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