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Teachers need more support to deal with Covid-19 pressures - Naptosa

6 June 2020 11:06 AM
Tags:
Basic Education
Angie Motshekga
Basil Manuel
Naptosa
National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa
COVID-19
#returntoschool

Naptosa executive director Basil Manuel says teachers and their families need ready access to psychological support.

The Western Cape went ahead with the phased return of pupils on Monday after the education minister's last-minute announcement the night before that the re-opening of schools would be delayed by a week.

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

It's reported that 66 staff members at 55 schools in the province have tested positive for Covid-19, but the majority of the positive tests were recorded before they returned to school.

Facing the fallout of anxiety around infection, teachers need more support says Basil Manuel, executive director of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa)

As one said to me yesterday - two people at her school tested positive - she became instantly ill... The next day there was nothing wrong with her, but the psychological impact is being ignored and nothing is being done to assist those teachers with dealing with the pressure, with the concern, with the worry that comes with a colleague having fallen prey to the pandemic.

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

RELATED: New school calendar: return dates for all the grades

Manuel says it's not so much the number of schools affected as the psychological effects that concern him.

It still creates more panic... even outside those schools, and we are paying scant attention to the real fears of people who go home to people who may be ill and they have little babies of their own, they have elderly parents etcetera. You can't just summarily reduce it down to a statistical figure...

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

I'm not advocating for the closure of schools... We all agree that many of our learners are far safer at our schools... We need to be assisting, we need to be showing support, that is what I'm advocating.

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

Manuel says there should be ready access to psychological support for teachers and their families, acknowledging that this is available at some schools although these are also under-resourced.

He also feels teachers should be better educated to deal effectively with the pandemic.

We are concentrating a lot on the education of the children, but we are not concentrating much on the education of the teachers... because if teachers know more about handling the situation they can assist the children better.

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

What we are asking for is, let's sit down and explore with the psychiatric organisations how we can best assist to reduce panic, to have a calmer approach to this and, of course, to ready them for what seems like an absolute eventuality that will occur.

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

Naptosa will be represented in a meeting with Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Saturday afternoon.

Manuel says the union does not have the resources to check the readiness of every single school in the country, so they will be holding the minister responsible for her statement that all schools are prepared for re-opening on 8 June.

We have to sustain compliance and we have to educate our schools to sustain compliance, but then there is of course the responsibility of the Education Department. We want to see the plan to replenish the consumables - things such as children's masks... What about the hand sanitizers, the bleach, the cleaning equipment etcetera?

Basil Manuel, Executive director - Naptosa

Listen to the conversation on Weekend Breakfast with Africa Melane:


6 June 2020 11:06 AM
Tags:
Basic Education
Angie Motshekga
Basil Manuel
Naptosa
National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa
COVID-19
#returntoschool

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