The Basic Education Department says it will not force educators to be vaccinated against their will. This comes as the department announced the start of the third school term with all primary school learners allowed back to class today.

According to the department, all provinces have reported that they will not be able to accommodate primary school learners at the same time due to difficulty in adhering to social distancing.

Capacity challenges in some schools :

This morning, Basic Education officials visited the Kabelo Primary School in Katlehong east of Johannesburg where they monitored the first day of the full-time return of primary school learners.

517 000 educators out of 582 000 have been inoculated.

However, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says educators with comorbidities that do not want to vaccinate cannot use that as an excuse not to return to work for fear of contracting COVID-19.

“What we are saying and I am going to send a directive which is part of what we have negotiated with labour on comorbidities, that if we have given you an opportunity to be protected, it will not be fair for you not to come back to school and say you have comorbidities, but others who have chosen not to vaccinated I think it’s their right.”

Motshekga will be visiting Monde Primary School in Ekurhuleni to monitor the return of learners to full capacity.

The department says the return of learners will enable both teachers and learners to recover learning and teaching time that has been lost due to the extended school break.

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