Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga confirmed today that schools will open for Grade 7 and 12 learners on June 8. Parents are expected to send children to school, unless they have a valid reason and have applied to the relevant authorities.

Motshekga explained that the delay was caused by reports that not all schools were at the same level of readiness. Accordingly, the department decided to give these schools another week so the necessary precautions could be put in place. Some schools had not yet received their Rand Water tankers until today, which are a necessity to maintain good hygiene and prevent COVID-19 spread.

In the Western Cape, learners have already begun returning to schools, as the provincial government gave them the go-ahead, despite the national government pull-back late on Sunday evening.

“Provinces are now putting the shoulder to to the wheel to make sure all pre-requisites are put together this week,” Motshekga said. However, schools that do not meet the requirements by the opening date will remain closed.

Schools equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment must have their teachers return this week and begin preparing for the resumption of classes for Grade 7 and 12 learners.

In a warning to parents, Motshekga said that learners have to return as it is against the law to not place your child in school. If there is a reason not to send a child to school, a parent must apply to the head of the provincial education department who can exempt a learner for compulsory attendance. This is likely only to be allowed if the child has underlying comorbidities.

“You can’t keep your child at home to say I’m anxious and therefore we find ourselves having to support you,” she said. If a parent does not want to send their child to school, they are expected to apply for home-schooling in line with the Basic Education Departments requirements and be approved to do so.

She asked parents not to send their children to school if they are showing symptoms. Schools must also carefully monitor and screen their pupils to avoid an outbreak.

The school curriculum is also being reengineered to make up for the time lost during lockdown. Schools which carried out remote learning will struggle less and can continue with Term 3 work. However, schools which did not have these resources now need to catch-up to complete the year.

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Picture: Screenshot from Conference.

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