UPDATE (19 May 2020): Angie Motshekga confirmed during a briefing on Tuesday evening that Grade 7 and Gade 12 learners will return to schools on 1 June 2020.
UPDATE: On Thursday, 30 April 2020 – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga held another a briefing on the decision of reopening the schools.
Following yesterday’s announcement, the Minister announced that Basic Education will begin phasing in opening the sector as of 4 May 2020, which will entail the first group of officials going in to prepare for learning and teaching.
School kids are not returning to school as yet. The whole of May month there will be preparations for the return of the Grade 12s and Grade 7s.
However, the Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga announced that “Teachers return to work on 18 May 2020 and then Grade 12 and 7 learners go back to school on the 1st of June 2020”.
Motshekga: Teachers return to work on 18 May 2020 and then Grade 12 and 7 learners go back to school on the 1st of June 2020.
— Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga) April 30, 2020
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On Wednesday, 29 April 2020 – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga held a briefing of the cabinet focused on the reopening of schools.
Re-opening of schools
The Department of Basic Education proposed several phases in of reopening of schools, with Grade 12 and Grade 7 being first on May 6 and grade R last on July 15.
“We are saying we start with grades 12 and 7, which are your exit grades. These are your older, matured, and much more aware learners who’ll have adequate infrastructure in primary and high schools. For younger learners, when they come they’ll help to orientate them,” said Director-General of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli during the briefing.
Proposed dates for resumption of schooling are as follows:
- Grade 12 and Grade 7 for 6 May 2020
- Grade 11 and Grade 6 for 20 May 2020
- Grade 10 and Grade 5 for 03 June 2020
- Grade 9 and Grade 4 for 17 June 2020
- Grade 8 and Grade 3 for 01 July 2020
- Grade 2 and Grade 1 for 08 July 2020
- Grade R for 15 July 2020
In addition, the department has suggested these non-negotiable (pre-conditions) for reopening of schools:
Social distancing implications
- Infrastructure and furniture
- Sanitize classroom prior to the start of the school day
- Sanitize hands-on entering of classroom
- Limit movement of learners between classes
- No clustering of desks in the classroom
- Work with DoT to ensure that buses are sanitized prior to start trip
- Sanitize hands on entering the bus
- Manage the distance between learners in the bus
- Compulsory wearing of masks throughout the school day, starting before boarding transport.
- COVID-19 essentials (Basic Sanitation & Hygiene Package).
- Water & sanitation (Mobile facilities to replace pit latrines).
- Cleaners (EPWP)
- Screeners (EPWP)
- Additional teaching posts to deal with overcrowding (No class should have more than 40 learners)
- Additional substitute posts to replace stuff due to long lines
- Provision of mobile classrooms to deal with overcrowding as a temporary measure.
- Incubation camps for progressed and weaker learners (Grade 12)
The June exams have been canceled and will be combined with October/ November Exams and rescheduled for November/December 2020.
Grade 12 will write preparatory examinations in September.
The last school day moving from 4 December to 9 December. The teachers will be on leave from 11 December.
The Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is set to address the nation on Thursday, 29 April 2020 on the decision.
This is the developing story.