‘We need more children back at school’ – Unions monitor pupils’ return to class

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Many parents, teachers, and other school staff remain anxious as thousands of grade seven pupils in public schools returned to the class on Tuesday after a two-week break.

JOHANNESBURG – Some teachers’ unions say they will continue monitoring schools where attendance may be low due to persistent fears over coronavirus outbreaks.

Many parents, teachers, and other school staff remain anxious as thousands of grade seven pupils in public schools returned to the class on Tuesday after a two-week break.

But the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa’s Basil Manuel says the first day back went smoothly.

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“The average 75% attendance for the grade 12s is not acceptable. We need more children to be back at school.”

The Professional Educators Union said poor infrastructure, a lingering problem in the public schooling system, deterred many learners from returning.

Spokesperson Ben Machipi said: “The low attendance is created by a number of factors. One is anxiety from both the learners and their parents, another is that most schools are not attending because they do not have water and they don’t have toilets at all.”

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