The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga has announced that only Grade 6, Grade 11 and Grade R learners will return to school on Monday, 6 July 2020. Other grades will be phased in within the month of July.

The Minister hosted the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) on Thursday, July 2. The meeting of the Minister, Deputy Minister and all MECs of Education accompanied by Heads of Education Departments, received and considered five reports focusing on key areas in the basic education sector in COVID-19 environment.

“After careful consideration of all the reports CEM took a decision that only Grade 6, Grade 11 and Grade R will return to school on Monday, 6th July 2020,” Motshekga announced.

The decision affects all provinces. The other grades will be phased during the month of July in a differentiated approach within the stipulated time frames as per the gazette of June 29, 2020 as published by the Minister.

The reports presented were:

– Implementation of the Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs) in the context of the proposed timetabling models and curriculum fundamentals to focus on per grade for the available time in the academic year

– Registration and Support to Learners whose Parents Elected to Keep at home and continue with schooling but not registered for Home Education, Registration and Support to Learners with Comorbidities

– Turnaround Time for Dealing with Comorbidities

– Examinations and Assessment in a COVID-19 Environment

– Monitoring and Evaluation Report conducted by the NECT-led consortium.

These reports provided a broad review of all the developments relating to the phased approach to the return of learners to school. CEM received reports since the first reopening phase and assessed the level or readiness of each Provincial Education Department to receive more learners as envisaged from July 6, 2020.

“We will adjust the reopening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to School Reopening taking into account all factors that affect the work we do. We are guided in this by an observation of the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country. We recognise that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said Motshekga.

The Minister will host a media briefing at the weekend to elaborate on the revised plans with the goal of phasing in the remaining Grades to allow our schools to return to normal by August 2020. The details of the media briefing will be announced in due course where all other matters will be addressed.

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