Schools will now open on 8 June for grade 7 and 12 pupils

Schools will open for all grade 7 and 12 pupils on Monday, 8 June 2020, the Department of Basic Education said in a statement on Sunday evening.

This follows meetings with the Council of Education Minister (CEM) on Saturday, to assess the state of readiness for the reopening of schools, where the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM), also presented its technical report.

CEM also received a report from the Consortium of service providers coordinated by the National Education Collaboration Trust on the External Evaluation and Monitoring of the state of readiness.

Rand Water, as an Implementing Agent delivering water to 3,500 schools, also presented its report.

“All three reports converged on the fact that a substantial number of schools would not be ready for the reopening tomorrow (Monday, 1 June), albeit tremendous progress had been made by most provinces, which overall reflected 80% state of readiness.

“CEM was concerned that, in some provinces personal protective equipment for learners in particular, had not been received; and some schools had not been made ready for the arrival of teachers and learners,” the department’s statement read.

It said that CEM took informed decisions to have schools to continue to reopen on 1 June 2020, but with School Management Teams, Teachers and Non-Teaching Staff only arriving to prepare for the arrival of learners.

Provincial and district officials should ensure that health, safety, and social distancing requirements, are strictly adhered to when teachers arrive.

“This whole coming week must be used for the proper orientation and training of teachers, the mopping and ramping of all supply chain matters, and final touches to the readiness of each facility for the arrival of learners.

“The date on which all learners have to report back to school, is the 08 June 2020,” it said.

The department said that it has received reports that indicate that some learners in boarding schools have already arrived. “We urge the schools to continue with orientation of the learners in terms of the health and safety procedures that should be in place,” it said.

Gazetted regulations

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga on Friday (29 May), gazetted new regulations that would see the phased return of other grades from 6 July – 3 August 2020.

Following the return of grades 7 and 12, the Basic Education Department (DBE) said it would monitor the adherence of schools to the stipulated health and safety guidelines before moving to return learners in other grades to the classroom.

Schools were shut as the country went on lockdown from 27 March 2020 in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The health and safety guidelines for the reopening of schools state that teachers and learners must have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing of 1.5 metres must be adhered to and screening must take place at schools.

In the regulations published on 29 May 2020, the department outlined that grades R, 3, 6, 10, 11 and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres would return to the school grounds on 6 July 2020.

Learners in year 2 and 3 of schools of skills would also return on 6 July 2020.

From 3 August 2020, grades 4, 5, 8 and 9.

While the department has mapped out the dates of return, it emphasised that this would only take place if schools had complied with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures on Covid-19.

A parent who chooses not to send their child to school is also obliged to apply for home education, the department said.

All events at schools, including sport, choral eisteddfods or choir rehearsals, arts and culture festivals remain suspended.

Officials, teachers and learners, who commute between provinces, metropolitans and districts for school, will be allowed to move, provided they have the relevant permit, it said.

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Schools will now open on 8 June for grade 7 and 12 pupils