Newsletter 320 - REOPENING OF SCHOOLS - TEACHER & LEARNERS RETURN
REOPENING OF SCHOOLS & THE RETURN OF LEARNERS
The reopening of schools and the return of teachers and learners is having everyone in bit of fear and apprehension. To operationalize the return to school under Covid-19 is tantamount to a “military” operation with untrained teachers as you combatants. With the best trained soldiers all and I mean all military operations DOES NOT ALWAYS go according to plan. That is why you have a number of contingencies which you plan for. Unions must be blamed if they allow their teachers to become combatants in this war...teacher are not prepared for it and should not be expected to step into this role as a combatant...no matter the amount of crisis training and drills to compensate.
Now we will soon hear that sending back grades 7 & 12 maybe feasible because of the small numbers, but as the numbers increase the operations becomes impossible...and this is a fact. Nothing can prepare schools for this large influx of learners. And for teachers to be both Covid-19 combatants and teachers responsible for teaching and learning is simply asking far too much. I hope unions do not deliver their members to the “slaughterhouse”.
Teachers will have to accept, that when they assume the duty as Covid-19 combatants they become, however ill prepared, liable (responsible and accountable) for the successes and failures of the “mission”. The success of the return of learners is not a mission that the school leadership, management, governance and teachers should be liable for.
ALLOW ME TO BREAKDOWN THIS COLOSSAL MILITARY EXERCISE IN SMALLER ACTIVITIES & ANTICIPATED ACTIONS
- Are schools in possession of the required resources for screening and cleaning and protection
- Are the supplies enough...by when will it run out...can we resupply
- The training or drill to be practiced...has it happened and is it adequate
- Are all staff on duty or timeously replaced
- How do we keep visitors at the school at the gate...what about poorer communities which defy the Covid-19 rules...surely they will not abide by “new” schools rules of no or regulated entry
- Will parents drop off learners at the gate...which gate...what about late-coming
- Does the school have security to man the gate...what to do with an unruly mob
- Do learners/teachers line up inside or outside school grounds in the morning
- How, where and when do we screen learners
- And how do we sanitise hands of learners/teachers
- Where do teachers park their cars and how do they enter school building
- Do we screen and sanitize in the afternoon...how often do we sanitize hands
- Will classrooms be sanitized daily...maybe twice a day
- Will we use the whole school building OR incrementally
- The staffroom for teachers – where and how and how many – 1.5m distance
- Classrooms for learners – where and how and how many
- Are we going to close the cafeteria for both teachers and learners
- And making tea?
- Maybe we should close down the school kitchen entirely
- Teachers bring lunch, flask, cup, spoon, and fork
- We need to explain the “new” rules to learners – who, where, when
- Maybe more than one room for teachers to work from...tables 2m apart
- How is the toilet facilities for both teacher and learners be managed, cleaned – how often
- When learners screened must be isolated – how, where, what next
- The school day – will it run from 8-3 or a shorter version
- How are we going to manage the breaks for learners – NONE?
- Learners cannot share meals
- Learners must have masks
- Learners going home in the afternoon – where and how do they gather – or do they stay in the classroom
- Will there be aftercare – what about parents being late
- Transport of learners to and from – whose duty and responsibility for care is it
- Will learners move or will teacher rotate
- How will the academic day look like – the academic programme
- What about learner and teacher absenteeism
- Will subject teachers do group teaching OR will we stick to classroom/subject teachers and teaching
- How do we PLAN FOR CONTINGENCIES – Which contingencies?
- Running out of supplies
- Keeping visitors at the gate – breaching the perimeter fencing
- Appointment of new staff
- Neglect & derelict of duty
- Wearing no masks
- Not washing hands
- Isolation – screening in the morning and during the day
- Isolation room/venue
- Late-coming of learners/teachers/parents
- Discipline [current & new policies/procedures] of teachers/learners...
- Locking the gate