South Africa

All primary school pupils can return on February 15, but secondary schools must still stagger classes

The two unions expressed concern over the proposal that primary schools may allow all pupils to return to school daily.

“Most classes at our primary schools are overcrowded, which makes social distancing impossible. In addition, learners are returning from holiday and have encountered numerous people during this time,” the submission reads.

They said the option also brought forward the inequalities as privileged schools with more space and additional governing body staff will be able to accommodate the pupils.

“We call on the minister to reflect on schools in the townships and inner cities that don’t even have playgrounds. Learners and teachers at primary schools also have comorbidities.

“Is the DBE [department of basic education] not being wilfully negligent in endangering the lives of both learners and teachers?” the unions asked.

The two unions recommended that all schools, including primary schools, follow rotational timetabling, with 50% classroom capacity, to avoid overcrowding.

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