Sixty-six percent of public school principals, surveyed by unions, say they are ready for schools to open come Monday.

This, according to the findings of the second national school readiness survey for 2021 conducted by five of the country’s major teachers unions – the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA, South African Teachers’ Union, Professional Educators Union and National Teachers’ Union.

The survey, conducted between 3 and 9 February, received responses from 4 309 principals across the nine provinces which amounts to 19% of schools nationally.

“Overall national confidence of principals in readiness to open schools – which includes not only material readiness, but system readiness at school level – increased from 37% on 18 January to 66% on 9 February,” the survey found.

The first survey was conducted between 13 and 18 January and asked principals to assess their readiness for the 2021 academic year to start based on various things such as the delivery of teaching and learning material and Covid-19 compliance.

“In terms of overall readiness for compliance, 57% of the schools nationally reported on 9 February that they are confident that they can comply with all Covid-19 protocols.”

Come Monday, pupils are expected to come to school with their own masks, with the exception of Grades 1 and 8 who will be provided with them.

“Schools were asked to indicate if learners had been told to bring back the face masks from home or the ones they had last year. On average, 50% of the schools nationally indicated they informed the learners. The majority of schools in the Western Cape [79%] have told learners to bring face masks,” the survey found.

In terms of teachers’ willingness to vaccinate for Covid-19, it found: “Fifty-two percent of principals nationally agree or strongly agree that they will take the vaccine when it becomes available. This is lowest in the Northern Cape where only 34% of principals are in this category.”

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