The court case the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers and the Solidarity Support Centre for Schools (SCS) are bringing against the Department of Social Development on the reopening of nursery schools will be heard in the open court in Pretoria on Wednesday at 10:00.
The two organisations turned to the courts because the department has still not provided any clarity on when private nursery schools and daycare centres may reopen; this while departmental nursery schools may again receive learners from 6 July.
“The scholastic progress of children in private nursery schools will be adversely affected by this conflicting narrative of the Department of Social Development and the Department of Basic Education. By bringing this case we want to prevent a situation arising that will cause these children to fall behind scholastically. The Department must also realise that these nursery school and daycare centre children are now being deprived of what is a safe haven to many of them, a place where they get food and a place where parents going back to work can leave their children without any worry,” Marisa Engelbrecht, sector head at the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers, said.
The occupational guild and the SCS believe nursery schools and daycare centres can also operate in a safe and healthy way. Teachers all had to take online courses in Covid-19 health protocols and all the necessary practical changes required by the regulations for schools have been put in place. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO’s) chief scientist the chances of children transmitting the virus are remote. Therefore, there is no reason why these institutions should not reopen.
The urgency of the matter cannot be emphasised more,” Anton van der Bijl, head of Labour Law Services at Solidarity, said. “The staff are back at work but there is still no hint of dates on which the children may return. These teachers are losing income as they are being prevented from providing their service. We are ready to fully oppose this senseless action of the department in Wednesday’s court hearing,” Van der Bijl concluded.