Sadtu digs in heels, wants its demands met before re-opening of schools

2020-04-29 21:37
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The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) has dug in its heels and said it will not support the re-opening of schools until its demands are addressed by the department of basic education.

"Sadtu stands firm on its position, which was articulated on Friday, that no school shall open until our concerns are met," the union said in a statement on Wednesday.

This after the Department of Basic Education presented its Covid-19 basic education sector plan which would see the phased-in resumption of schooling, with tentative dates being 4 May for teachers and 6 May for the first group of pupils, grades 7 and 12, News24 reported.

READ: Back-to-school non-negotiables: No more than 40 pupils in a class - DBE

The union made several demands which was articulated in 14 points:

- The fumigation and disinfection of schools.

- Proper school infrastructure in the form of proper toilets, classrooms, etc.

- Social distancing inside classrooms and courtyards.

- Reduction of class sizes.

- Provision of soap, sanitisers and masks.

- Screening of people, teachers and support personnel.

- Social distancing in the transportation of pupils to and from school.

- Provision of psychosocial support to pupils and teachers.

The union said if level 4 of the lockdown was adhered to, then schools should not be re-opened. However, when asked what measures it was it was willing to take in order to make their point, the union did not respond to News24.

"The minister should meet with stakeholders before any announcement is made and after making sure that the Department of Health has expertly assessed the risks," it said in a statement.

Context and culture

The union also rejected what it called "the importing of Taiwan, China, Denmark and Singapore misrepresentation" in the presentation.

"The context and culture are not the same. We must use our context, culture and data to inform our actions."

It said the department was acting in bad faith while the country was facing the global pandemic.

"We can't allow them to liquidate our workers and students."

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