Angie Motshekga, The Minister of Basic Education, has made a decision regarding the opening of schools. After touring three schools in the Free State she spoke to the teaching staff at one of the schools concluded that a phased opening will be implemented.
Grade 7 and 12 learners are resuming their studies on Monday the 1st of June despite criticism from various circles who are worried about the readiness of schools.
All other grades will be returning to school between the 6th of July and the 3rd of August but no mention was made on dates when grade 1 and grade 2 learners will be returning to school.
Only schools and offices that meet the minimum health, safety and social distancing requirements will be allowed to open. This gives room for other institutions which are not certified as ready for opening to have more time to mobilise resources and implement a safe learning environment.
Parents who are not comfortable with sending their children back to school, will not be forced to do so. They will have to apply to the Head of Department, who may then exempt the learner fully, partially or conditionally from compulsory school attendance, if it is in the best interest of the learner.
The parent will be obliged to apply for home education.
Sporting activities are currently suspended and the department of education will make an announcement on when they can resume. Learners are obliged to wear face masks at all times and some schools have already put up notices that those with no masks should not enter.
The Department has made a number of options available to schools to assist with the social distancing of learners – these include:
* Daily and weekly rotations
* Bi-weekly rotations
* Platooning or shifts (two sets of learners and educators use the same building – one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon).
South Africans are just hoping that infections among the learners and teachers do not sky rocket as what has happened in France and South Korea.