Home South African Education dept warns against the ‘premature’ reopening of schools

Education dept warns against the ‘premature’ reopening of schools

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The department said it had become aware that some independent (or private) and public schools were already preparing to reopen much earlier.

THE DEPARTMENT of Basic Education on Thursday warned against the premature reopening of schools across South Africa, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

The department said it had become aware that some independent (or private) and public schools were already preparing to reopen much earlier and even receive pupils ahead of the schedule announced by Minister Angie Motshekga.

“In some schools, teachers have already been reporting for duty and parents meetings have been held where plans were announced to have pupils back in school in May. The premature reopening of schools is not permitted as the department is still finalising Covid-19 school compliance protocols. The uniform standards will be applicable in schools as part of the measures put in place to protect pupils and teachers, reduce infection and save the academic year,” the department said.

Current regulations under the Covid-19 lockdown stipulate that education services will be permitted on a date and schedule yet to be announced to direct when schools may reopen.

“Until such date and schedule are determined, all schools, including independent schools, must remain closed. The minister (Motshekga) has already indicated how she intends to have schools reopening and until a final decision is made no school may proceed to open and receive pupils.”

Motshekga announced that office-based workers in the education sector would gradually return to work from May 4, while school management teams could return to work on May 11 and teachers are expected to head back to schools on May 18.

Currently, the department’s proposed date for the gradual return of pupils is June 1.

Basic Education Department director-general Mathanzima Mweli called on schools across the country to familiarise themselves with the regulations.

“I therefore urge schools to familiarise themselves with all the regulations and directives to ensure compliance. In the meantime schools consult with the Department of Health and Department of Employment and Labour in anticipation of the determination by the minister. I am emphasising that until this determination is made, schools must remain closed,” said Mweli.

Motshekga will next week return to the National Command Council to present an enhanced recovery plan for the basic education sector, based on inputs and feedback received thus far.

– African News Agency (ANA)