For parents, teachers, and learners alike, Monday will be a day full of intrigue and nervous anticipation. A decision on schools reopening for other grades is expected later in the afternoon, as some of the top elected officials in the country have a tough choice to make. The suspension of all classroom activity remains possible, too.
Are schools reopening on Monday 20 July?
A flurry of rumors did the rounds on Sunday, but alas, no progress was made. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has now accepted that the decision is now, ultimately, out of her hands.
So, will we get any progress on the ‘schools reopening debate’ on Monday? Here’s what you can expect:
ANC Top 6 meeting on Monday
This is where a final decision will emerge. Rising above the powers of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), The ANC Top 6 – their original ‘top brass’, as it were – are now taking control of the situation, and they will meet to discuss whether schools can allow more grades to return on Monday.
President Ramaphosa is expected to attend the meeting, and an announcement could be made later on Monday afternoon. Ace Magashule and David Mabuza will also take part in the discussions.
Sadtu ramp up demands for teachers
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) have intensified their campaign to prevent schools reopening for other grades. They now want a complete shutdown, with an added caveat.
The group has already advised teachers and school workers to stay away from work, as the spread of coronavirus has made South Africa the fifth-worst affected country in the world (in terms of cases). Now, Sadtu has asked for teachers to continue receiving wages while they are off work. But not everyone is happy.
Schools reopening: DA stick to their guns
In their most recent statement on the matter, the DA vowed to fight the dissenting voices of teaching unions. The political party suggested that there should be no financial support for teachers that refuse to attend work. Should the ANC Top 6 decide to prevent schools reopening on Monday, the reaction will be fierce from the blue corner:
“Teachers need to realise that thousands of other South Africans are back at work and that coping with the day to day difficulties of the virus is going to be part of our reality for months to come. Of course, if teachers are to continue working, they need all the support possible in managing this difficult situation.”
“If teachers, however, do not go back to work, we believe that the taxpayer should not continue to pay them for staying at home. Now that the lockdown is partially lifted, those civil servants who can go back to work should indeed do so. Their medical risk is the same as any other profession.”
DA statement on schools reopening