SOME Gauteng teachers have told News24 they feared being infected with COVID-19 as schools reopen tomorrow, following a two-month closure.
News24 visited two primary schools in Lenasia, south of Jozi, on Monday where a number of teachers had reported for duty.
Teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their two schools had not been disinfected.
But they added plans were in the pipeline to ensure school buildings were disinfected as quickly as possible.
They said they were worried about their health and that of pupils.
At Ennerdale Secondary School, workers from a disinfectant company could be seen spraying chemicals inside the school hall.
Extra classrooms were also disinfected to allow returning Grade 7 and 12 pupils to move around freely and observe physical distancing.
Ennerdale school governing body chairperson Delphine Botha said: “We managed to get a service provider quickly to work on our school before children and teachers return to classrooms. Our main concern is we want to protect the lives of teachers, non-teaching staff and children. We want to comply with the regulations and want our children to learn in a safe and hygienic environment.”
She promised they’d continue to monitor that there were adequate hand sanitisers and pupils wore their face masks.
At General Smuts High School in Vereeniging, about 232 pupils were expected to report back to school.
About 12 matriculants, who board in the school’s hostels, were expected to report back today.
The disinfected school will use 12 classrooms to accommodate matriculants and is awaiting protective material and sanitisers for teachers and pupils.
Both George Khoza Secondary and Forte High School in Dobsonville, Soweto, have been disinfected.
George Khoza received protective material and sanitisers for teachers and pupils, while Forte awaited its protective gear.
George Khoza has 115 matric pupils and teachers and Forte High expected about 340 matriculants to return tomorrow.
Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said most schools had received protective material and sanitisers.
Said Mabona: promised by Monday, all schools would have received the required materials.
In Tshwane, schools were also gearing up for the return of pupils.
Freda Mashaba, a Grade 7 teacher at Ga-Rankuwa Primary School, said she was anxious but hopeful things would turn out for the best. because teaching and learning had to resume at some point.
“As a teacher, it’s so difficult. We don’t know where to start. But fortunately, we have officials who’ll workshop us on how to go about it,” the English and economic management science teacher said.
She added she was concerned about the time lost since schools closed in March, saying there’d now be pressure to ensure pupils caught up for the academic year to be completed.
A Grade 7 teacher from a school in Pretoria East, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was ready to return to school, adding her school had taken all possible precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Said the educator: “I’m not nervous, I’m young, don’t smoke and am healthy. So, I’m not scared of getting the virus. I do have an elderly grandmother so, in that sense, I don’t want to be a carrier either, so it’s a double-edged sword,” she told News24.
Another teacher, from a private school in Pretoria, questioned why schools were being opened and not parts of the economy.
“If we’re in a position to believe it’s safe enough to open a school with children, why can’t we open the economy entirely and let everyone go back to work,” she asked.
She wasn’t worried about the virus, but expressed concerned about schools in poorer districts being unable to implement strict measures to ensure the virus didn’t spread.