South Africa’s biggest teachers’ union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has resolved that schools should close amid a peak in COVID-19 cases in South Africa, it announced during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Sadtu’s national executive committee held a meeting on Tuesday to pen a way forward as infections spiked in the country, affecting pupils and teachers.
Reading the statement, the union’s secretary general Mugwena Maluleke said its NEC resolved that schools close until the end of the peak.
Maluleke said evidence on the ground showed that there was no effective teaching and learning at schools during the current conditions.
The decision of the national executive to call for the school to close for the period was, among others, informed by the peak, the winter season, which was also impacting the surge, the union said.
“Science evolution” also guided the union’s decision, Maluleke added.
The union said it had written a letter to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and expected to engage with her and present a plan of what should happen while schools were closed.
The union said it was calling on Motshekga, through the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to use the peak period to come up with strategies to curb the spread and save lives.
It said another development that compelled its leadership to request a meeting with Motshekga was the airborne nature of the virus, which requires new ways of dealing with closed environments, adding that it was not possible to open windows in classrooms during winter.