Basic education minister, Angie Motshekga gave clarity on the reopening of schools which is planned for July in a televised media briefing on Thursday.
Schools around the country have been vocal about the conditions of the schools claiming social distancing, sanitisation and the wearing of masks are unsustainable. School governing bodies have defied the call by national government fearing children will bring Covid-19 home with them and infect family members.
During her briefing Motshekga made the following statements:
- Planned to begin schools on June 1, but delayed that until June 8. Others could not open because of problems with sanitation and other reasons.
- Guided by experts nationally and international that recommended that schools reopening. She pointed out that children suffer because of lack of scholing, and that the poorer communities suffer the most, causing children to drop out of the system.
- Decision not taken lightly. It is clear that safety comes first. all necessary precautions should be taken. Every child will receive two cloth masks, that schools are clean, 1.5m social distance is maintained. All senior pupils and teachers have been educated on safety measures for hygiene. Constant education on Covid-19. No school can open until sanitation and hygiene measures have been met.
- The availability of water was a problem with the reopening of schools.
- A temperature screener will be responsible for taking the temperature of pupils as they enter.
- Transport protocols will be monitored to ensure they adhere to the newly published regulations on loading.
- Easier to do social distancing with only two grades present. By August social distancing might not be possible, so rotational learning is being considered. Hoping to get financed.
- Comorbidity is a problem with some teachers but hoping that this can be resolved.
- Different scholars with chronic illnesses will be accommodated.
- Not compromising on matric. 2020 will be the same value as every other year. Exams will start in November, a month later. Curriculum will be trimmed but they will not lose out on what they have learnt.
- Protocols for special schools will be given consideration.
- Bandits have attacked schools and communities are helping to protect their schools. But a plea that people do not take the law into their own hands. Working well with SGBs and principals and teacher unions.
- Operating procedures on the government website.
- Treat schools like any other place if the there is a infection.
- 98% attendance at our schools so far.