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It's confirmed — KZN teachers will only report to school on Thursday

24 May 2020 - 17:54 By Orrin Singh
KZN premier Sihle Zikalala at a media briefing in Durban on Sunday, May 24, 2020
KZN premier Sihle Zikalala at a media briefing in Durban on Sunday, May 24, 2020
Image: KZN Government

Teachers in KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the highest numbers of pupils in the country, will return to school on Thursday.

Premier Sihle Zikalala made the announcement during a press briefing in Durban on Sunday attended by MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu and MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.

Zikalala said the 90,057 teachers and support staff in the province who were expected to report back to school on Monday, would now only return on Thursday.

The announcement came on the back of calls made by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) on Sunday who advised teachers not to report for duty on Monday, citing the non-readiness of schools in the province.

Zikalala said a decision was taken to delay the return date for teachers to ensure that all the schools were thoroughly cleaned and that essentials, especially personal protective equipment (PPEs), were delivered to all schools in the province.

“We have taken this decision due to the fact that the demand for these essentials far outstrips the supply and as such some schools are not yet in possession of all the equipment.

“This decision is in the interest of safety of our staff and learners. We will rather be delayed in commencing with the academic programmes than risk the health and safety of our workers.” 

He said PPEs included the provision of clean and hygiene material — with three masks per pupil, three masks per teacher and visors to enhance audibility of teachers. Education and awareness, infrastructure, water and sanitation, nutrition and hygiene also had to be ensured.

He emphasised that vandalism of schools in the province had been a cause for concern with 463 of them being targeted during the lockdown. Four of them were burnt down.

“The plan that has been put in place includes procuring a total of six mobile classrooms, with four in uThukela District and two in Harry Gwala District. This is after a thorough assessment which indicated that in these two districts mobiles would be needed following the damage made by the fire.”

Zikalala said they would trim the curriculum to make up for time lost during the break and that the May/June examinations would be moved to final examinations in October.

“However, for grade 12 this will not apply as the certificate for all grade 12s is internationally recognised.” 

He said in in terms of the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases the province was in fourth spot in the country.

A breakdown of Covid-19 cases per district in the province of KZN as of Sunday, 24 May, 2020
A breakdown of Covid-19 cases per district in the province of KZN as of Sunday, 24 May, 2020
Image: KZN Government

“On a daily basis the province now reports an average of 20 new cases which is a slight decline from 43 to 45 we used to experience. eThekwini Metro is still contributing the bulk of the new cases at 58%, In iLembe district alone we currently have over 380 cases.”

He reiterated his concerns about the iLembe district, north of Durban.

“While iLembe district has fewer numbers of Covid-19 cases, however, when calculating according to numbers per population they are higher than eThekwini. iLembe stands at 53.5 per 100, 000 compared to the 30.0 per 100,000 of eThekwini. This makes iLembe the second most concerning hotspot in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.”

He noted that there had been no new cases reported in the province over the last 24 hours.