With Namibian schools scheduled to reopen for face-to-face teaching and learning for the critical 11 and 12 grades, the Namibia National Teachers' Union (Nantu) says all schools should get health safeguards before 3 June.
Failure by government to provide such health protective gears, the union has threatened that no schools shall reopen.
"It should be noted that Nantu is not against the reopening of schools for the learners, however, it is within our mandate to ensure that the health safety of our members are not compromised and that their conditions of service are not negatively affected. Therefore, Nantu stands firm on its position which was communicated to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture last week that no school shall open until the mentioned demands and concerns are not met," stated Loide Shaanika, the secretary general of Nantu
Government has announced schools will reopen in four different phases, starting with grade 11 and 12 in the first phase on 3 June who are expected to sit for national examinations at the end of the year.
Shaanika said the union had meetings with school management with grade 11 and 12 in all the 14 regions, to discuss the readiness of these schools to start on June 3 given the short time frame before classes resume for face-to-face.
She said Nantu discovered that there is a clear indication that schools are not yet ready due to the lack of some basic health and safety gears, and moreover the financial resources to address these challenges.
Based on that, the union strongly demands to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to ensure schools have put in place safety mechanisms before 3 June.
These demands include that all vacancies be filled as advertised in the last term and where schools might be in need of additional human and physical resources resulting from social distancing in the classrooms should be done as such.
Equally, the union wants classroom size to be managed in such a way that the social distancing is practiced.
Nantu also wants voluntarily screening of staff at schools.
Further, the union wants all schools to have water and ablution facilities.
The union also demand that all learners should be given health masks as is mandatory for everyone in public places.
"All schools and hostels should be properly cleaned and that general hygiene is maintained. Provide psycho-social support for our teachers and learners," Shaanika stated.