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Heathfield High remains shut over PPE shortages, but WCED says schools are ready

1 June 2020 4:03 PM
Tags:
WCED
Schools
SAHRC
Schools reopen
Teacher
SGB
Education MEC Debbie Schaefer
PPE
schools reopening
Healthfield High School

A teacher at Heathfield High School says the public school has not reopened because it does not meet health and safety standards.

This despite assurances from Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer that all schools in the province are Covid-19 compliant.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is taking legal action against the Western Cape government for its decision to reopen schools on Monday.

Western Cape officials claim that the province is ready and able to begin the school program, while the national government has postponed the reopening of schools to next week Monday.

RELATED: Why this Cape Town school chooses not reopen on Monday 1 June

Heathfield High's school governing body (SGB) opted not to reopen because it felt the school did not meet the health and safety requirements.

Brandon de Kock, a teacher and SGB member at Heathfield High, told CapeTalk that the school had not received enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff.

De Kock claims PPE was only supplied for the school management team (SMT) and not for learners, teachers and other support staff.

We received PPE only for our SMT, nothing for the students, and nothing for the rest of the staff.

Brandon de Kock, Teacher - Heathfield High School

Our school has not been disinfected at all. We have not been sanitised as per the regulations.

Brandon de Kock, Teacher - Heathfield High School

They are doing it for neighbouring schools, but they are not doing it for us.

Brandon de Kock, Teacher - Heathfield High School

We also have teachers with comorbidities and we've heard nothing from the department regarding that.

Brandon de Kock, Teacher - Heathfield High School

Listen to Brandon de Kock on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:

Meanwhile, MEC Schäfer says all schools in the Western Cape meet Covid-19 health standards.

She says all public schools in the province have received PPE stocks and are compliant with regulations.

The MEC says her department has only issued schools with the amount of PPE needed for the first phase of teaching.

Some people are being mischievous saying that they haven't got everything because they don't have masks for the entire school. We aren't delivering for the entire school when only one grade is going back... you know what is going to happen there.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

According to Schäfer, the only schools that might remain closed are those affected by Covid-19 infections or those still orientating teaching staff and preparing

RELATED: Western Cape schools are ready, let's go back to school - Premier Alan Winde

She says 37 staff members from 32 schools have been infected by Covid-19, adding that many infections occurred outside of the school environment.

Schäfer confirmed that SAHRC Commissioner André Gaum threatened to take legal action against provincial authorities on Sunday night.

I don't think we've gone against our national colleagues. There's a big hoo-ha about it... It's in line with what Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said, with what she asked us to do, and it's in line with the gazette.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

We have been in discussion with the Minister for a number of weeks. We were asked by her to work towards opening on the first of June, and that is what we did.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

Our teachers and staff have been working really hard to get the schools ready in time. If there is a school that is not ready, that is the exception.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

In my view, any school that complies with the regulations should be allowed to reopen.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

Listen to the Education MEC on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:


1 June 2020 4:03 PM
Tags:
WCED
Schools
SAHRC
Schools reopen
Teacher
SGB
Education MEC Debbie Schaefer
PPE
schools reopening
Healthfield High School

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