Teachers union reiterate call for educators to be next in line for vaccines

Public school teachers returned to work on Monday to prepare for the official re-opening in two weeks’ time, many facing the reality of losing their colleagues to the virus.

FILE: A classroom at the Ga-Rankuwa Primary School, north of Pretoria, on 26 May 2020. Picture: @Lesufi/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Teacher Unions have reiterated their call for educators to be next in line after healthcare workers to receive jabs of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.

Public school teachers returned to work on Monday to prepare for the official re-opening in two weeks’ time, many facing the reality of losing their colleagues to the virus.

Teachers have been hard-hit by the pandemic with unions estimating that over 1,300 of their members have succumbed to the virus since last year.

READ: Basic education dept: Teachers will not be forced to be vaccinated

Teachers are exposed to large numbers of pupils on a daily basis and unions say they were at high risk of contracting the virus and should be a priority when it came to receiving the vaccine.

Naptosa’s Basil Manual said: “The teachers have to be the very next in line because they deal with large numbers of learners.”

Sadtu’s Mugwena Maluleke agreed that teachers should be second in line to receive the vaccine.

“We are saying teachers should then follow immediately at the top of the priority list because the numbers of the teachers in the country in terms of movement is huge.”

READ: ANC MPs want teachers to be among the first to get COVID-19 vaccine

Many public-school teachers who’ve returned to work on Monday may be faced with an overload of responsibilities over the next couple of weeks as the department begins the process of replacing their colleagues who have died of COVID-19 over the festive season.

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