Students in Grade 7 and 12 are set to return to school on Monday (8 June), but there are concerns that not all schools will be ready to open on time, the Sunday Times reports.
While unions have agreed that learning cannot be delayed further and that schools that are ready should open, the paper reports that around 10% of schools cannot open due to a lack of adequate water and proper sanitation.
In Gauteng, more than 67 schools are expected to remain closed, with 53 reporting problems with their water supply and sanitation. The National Teachers’ Union said that this is especially disappointing as it is primarily rural schools that will be left behind.
However, executive director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) Basil Manuel, said South Africa has reached the stage where it is “almost impossible to continually keep schools closed”.
“There are many schools in provinces that are ready and we believe the time is right now to open the schools,”he said.
Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga has said that only those schools that have complied with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures on Covid-19 will be allowed to open.
The Department of Basic Education sent a document to schools outlining the standard operating procedure during lockdown.
The document also contains rules for all learners, educators, support staff, officials, parents and communities:
- Avoid gatherings;
- Maintain a social distance of at least 1.5-2 metres to others, where possible;
- Every learner, staff member and visitor must wear a cloth mask at all times;
- Avoid direct contact with others e.g. shaking hands or hugging;
- Frequently wash hands with water and soap;
- Avoid touching the face (i.e. eyes, nose, mouth) with unwashed hands;
- Eradicate all forms of stigma and discrimination as a result of Covid-19.
New school calendar
Earlier this week, Motshekga published a new directive that provides further clarity on the new academic calendar for schools in South Africa.
The directive makes a number of amendments to a directive published by the department on Friday (29 May), including provision for aftercare facilities as well as ‘ongoing teaching’.
Notably, the directive also states that learners in Grades 1 and 2 will resume schooling on 6 July. However, the revised start-date calendar does not reflect the fact that the return of Grade 7 and 12 has been postponed until 8 June.
The below table outlines the return dates for all grades as well as remedial schools.