CHARLES MOLELE and NYAKALLO TEFU
OVER 95% of schools are COVID-19 compliant and ready to open their doors for teaching and learning on Monday June 8, Basic Education Angie Motshekga said on Sunday evening.
Motshekga, addressing a media briefing on the state of readiness of schools, said Grade 7 and Grade 12 can return to schools because the majority of them have received necessary Personal Protective Equipment and were deep-cleaned.
This comes after teachers’ unions said on Sunday that they are willing to work with government to begin the phased reopening of schools as long as it can be done safely, amid concerns about a renewed coronavirus outbreak.
“We can now say with confidence that about 95% of our schools have been ably provided with the COVID-19 related imperatives,” said Motshekga.
Motshekga said Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners will be the first to return to school on Monday in a phased approach.
“Provinces should mop-up the outstanding deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment, as well as the outstanding provision of water and sanitation to the schools,” she said.
“The ongoing cleaning of schools should be accelerated and finalized within the week of 01 June 2020 and provinces should finalise the training of screeners, cleaners and volunteers for the national school nutrition programme (NSNP).”
Motshekga insisted that no school would be allowed to open without meeting necessary COVID-19 requirements.
“The golden rule is, there will be no school that will resume, if not ready to do so,” said Motshekga.
“We have since published the Directions in terms of the Regulations under the Disaster Management Act, 2002 – regarding the reopening of schools, and measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of the Corona Virus in the Basic Education Sector.”
“The Directions, as amended on 01 June 2020, do cater for deviations to the extent necessary, to be applicable to small schools, special schools, as well as independent and private schools. They also cater for instances where parents may choose to keep their children at home fearing that their children could be infected by the COVID-19; or schools may not be ready to resume schooling.”
The MECs of Education from all nine provinces also backed Motshekga’s plan to reopen schools on Monday despite experiencing a few COVID-19 hurdles, which includes lack of water and delays in the delivery of PPEs at certain schools.
Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi said 14 schools were not ready to open on June 8. He added that at 30 schools (26 public and 4 private schools), teachers and learners have tested positive for COVID-19 and so those schools will not open.
Lesufi also said 1800 young people have been trained to assist quintile 1 – 3 schools with COVID19 related activities.
Mpumalanga MEC of Education Bonakele Majuba said the province was ready to receive learners on June 8. Majuba said, on the other hand, 43 schools are not ready to open in Mpumalanga because water tanks have not yet delivered.
KwaZulu Natal MEC Kwazi Mshengu said 104 schools in the province were not ready to open on Monday.
(Compiled by Inside Education staff)