The Department of Basic Education (DBE) said that some teachers and school management teams had not returned to schools due to the delay in the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Educators and staff members are expected to go back to work this week to prepare for the resumption of classes on 1 June.
However, teachers in some provinces have refused to go back, saying they had not received protective equipment.
Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said that there had been a few delays in the delivery process.
“If you were to look at the reports of all the provinces, they met several weeks ago. Some are still waiting while some were delivered between Saturday and Sunday, but deliveries are taking place, they are just not taking place at the same time because of the different companies that have been used.”
Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that his department was monitoring the distribution of equipment to schools across the province and is dealing with last-minute glitches.
He said that he was confident that schools would be ready when grade 7s and matrics returned to the classroom.
Many parents are apprehensive about sending their children back to school at a time when the country is dealing with more than 22,000 cases of COVID-19.
Lesufi said that schools would be given what they needed to safeguard pupils and staff: “For the first period, in phase one, it’s those face cloths and 25 litres of hand sanitisers and immediately after that, we are giving every school six screening scanners.”
COSAS TO VISIT WESTERN CAPE SCHOOLS
The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) is planning to visit schools across the province this week to ensure that they are ready to receive learners.
Schools in the Western Cape have been closed since a week before the national lockdown was implemented on 26 March.
The first wave of pupils is set to return to class next Monday.
Teachers returned to work today in anticipation of the arrival of Grade 12 and Grade 7 pupils next Monday.
Preparations are now underway to continue the syllabus that has been altered to fit into what’s left of the academic year.
Cosas treasurer Michael Mayalo said it seemed that some government officials did not have a clear understanding of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools, especially in areas like Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Mfuleni and Langa.
Mayalo said that they were also concerned about the supply of PPEs and cleaning supplies: “The visited schools had no personal protective equipment, we were at a school were only two buckets of sanitisers were given.”
The national minister of Basic Education explained that there were delays in delivering PPEs during a briefing last week, saying that in many cases bulk deliveries had been made to provincial warehouses.
The thinking is they will be safer there than at schools targeted by vandals and will be delivered just in time for the resumption of classes.