About 22 500 teachers across the country were granted concessions to work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Basic Education is now calling on all these teachers to physically return to their teaching positions as the country shifts to Alert Level 1 on Monday, September 21.
Department Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga explains the concession agreement will soon expire. Schools must fulfil their contract towards the substitute teachers temporarily hired to replace teachers working from home.
“This is because the collective agreement between teacher unions and the department will cease to exist at midnight on the 20th of September. We know that there have been substitute teachers who have been employed. We request that schools continue to meet their contractual obligations towards them until such time that their contracts have expired, but they could also find other ways of utilising the services of the substitute teachers.”
Sadtu General-Secretary Mugwena Maluleke explains that teachers who have co-morbidities or those not ready to return to school on Monday must apply for normal leave.
“Those who are still having some risk of returning they will apply for normal leave in terms of personnel administrative measures so that those particular teachers will be granted leave and, therefore, the school will then qualify for a substitute teacher, unlike in the past when the school had to suffer not being able to get a substitute teacher because the teacher was deemed to be working at home. Now, the teacher will be on leave and the school automatically qualifies for a substitute teacher.”