Educare staff face salary cuts

Principals at Mitchell’s Plain early childhood development (ECD) centres face taking pay cuts with the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday March 23.

They discussed their woes at the Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum’s open-air meeting at Westridge Gardens last Wednesday, March 18.

Usually their meetings are held at Beaconvale Community Care Centre for the Frail and Aged, in Beacon Valley, but the venue was changed because of the president’s March 15 announcement relating to social distancing and limited gatherings of 100 people away from confined spaces.

During that announcement, Mr Ramaphosa also declared that all schools and ECD centres would be closed as of Wednesday March 18.

At last week’s meeting, principals spoke frankly to each other about the impact this would have on centres and teachers’ salaries.

They did not want to offend parents by mentioning their names. One principal asked her colleagues what was their response to parents questioning why they should pay if their child was not attending school.

Some said if good relations existed between parents and teachers, they would understand the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on ECD centre staff and their families.

Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum member, Pat Hawkins, said after discussing the situation with parents they had reached a compromise in that school fees might be reduced.

Another principal said that teachers who have good relations with their principal should understand that parents were not paying so they could not expect their usual salary.

City of Cape Town environmental health practitioners briefed principals on Covid-19, washing one’s hands and how to prevent diarrhoea.

They encouraged principals to spread information to parents on WhatsApp and to call on them for pamphlets, posters and texts to spread the message of better hygiene practices and the importance of social distancing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Environmental health practitioner Shahnaz Howell said there were various ways, including life hacks (a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way), arts and crafts, principals and teachers could teach parents and pupils about the virus.