GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Educators who had been given concessions during Alert Level 3 and 2 now need to return to school due to the reduction to Alert Level 1, said Brian Schreuder, the head of department in the Western Cape, in a press release.
He said schools still have to continue to adhere to the protocols and procedures. “I am very aware, however, of the uncertainty that this announcement brings to schools and employees who have been granted concessions for comorbidities.
"The move to Alert Level 1 does have implications regarding the management of employees with identified comorbidities in our offices and schools.”
As highlighted in Circular 0004/2021, dated 29 January 2021, the provision for the arrangements for vulnerable employees with comorbidities ceased when Alert Level 3 came to an end. The concessions to work from home therefore no longer apply.
The department has decided that all such teachers must be back at work by no later than Monday 8 March. But the applications for exemption from public schooling for learners still apply. “These will apply for the duration of the National State of Disaster,” Schreuder added.
The WCED is aware of the stress and anxiety some educators and staff may be feeling due to the fact that they are to return to school. “We want to assure you that health and safety precautions are in place at schools, including the relevant screening and cleaning processes, sanitising of hands, social distancing and the wearing of masks.“
Schreuder thanked all principals, teachers and staff members with comorbidities who have worked fully from home, and the teaching assistants who have played a valuable part in stabilising schools for the work and commitment they have shown.
According to Schreuder, the Presidential Employment Stimulus assistants will continue beyond 31 March. He said the WCED has not received any formal communication in this regard, therefore considers their term of contract still applicable.
The WCED expects that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will release amended directions within the next week or so.
It may have implications for various school protocols, particularly school sports. “However, we await further communication in this regard. Until further notice, the 1m physical distancing requirement is still valid.”
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