If we don’t put reasonable measures in place to ensure schools are safe, we will be sued left, right and centre – DG
THE DEPARTMENT of Basic Education is drafting legal requirements on safety measures schools will have to meet when they tentatively reopen next month amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis, director-general Hubert Mweli told members of Parliament on Tuesday.
Mweli told a virtual meeting of Parliament’s portfolio and standing committees on basic education that May 6 had been set as the likely date for reopening schools, but this would only apply for pupils from Grade 7 to Grade 12.
He added that the department needed to balance the need to continue with the school year with that of ensuring that pupils were safe.
Mweli said a team of lawyers was working on a list of safety measures schools would need to sign off on to prevent lawsuits from parents.
“If we don’t (put) reasonable measures in place to ensure schools are safe, we will be sued left, right and centre,” he said.
Basic requirements would include adequate water supply to enable frequent hand-washing, while classroom numbers would have to be kept below 40, he said.
Schools across South Africa have been closed since March 18 in a bid to contain transmission of the coronavirus which has spread rapidly across the world since being first reported in China last December.
Most independent schools, which have better resources than government-run institutions, have however been able to keep up with the 2020 curriculum by conducting virtual classes.
Last month, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said her department had prepared online and broadcast support resources for pupils, with a focus on Grade 12 pupils who are due to write their school-finishing examinations at the end of the year.
– African News Agency (ANA)