Teachers with comorbidities return to school

The announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the subsequent move by South Africa to alert Level 1 from midnight on Sunday 20 September 2020 has meant that special concessions for certain categories of people to work from home is no longer applicable.

This includes teachers and educators who had been excused from the classroom due to comorbidities, but who are now required to return to school.

According to the Department of Basic Education, more than 22 500 teachers over the age of 60 were granted approval for concessions countrywide in terms of the Education Labour Relations Collective Agreement 1 of 2020.

According to a statement by the department on Saturday, the agreement was aimed at providing a concession for teachers who are affected due to risk factors relating to Covid-19. The concession granted would only be applicable for alert Levels 3 and 2.

The departments’ director-general Mathanzima Mweli and South African Teachers Union general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke signed the agreement, dated May 30, 2020, which read: “Employees who have comorbidities and those who are 60 years and above will remain home on full pay subject to all requirements…”

The agreement also allowed for those teachers who had comorbidities and were 60, but who wished to continue reporting for duty at school to agree with their principals for the relevant health and safety measures to be put in place to ensure their safety.

The department added: “There are instances where substitute teachers have been appointed in the place of educators who were granted the concession to work from home. As teachers with comorbidities return to school today (Monday), the provincial departments should honour the contractual obligations entered between the substitute teachers and the provincial department.

 “Principals have been advised to put measures in place for social distancing and to rework the timetables to accommodate pupils who would be attending on a specific date.”