Cabinet approves reopening of schools
May 19, 2020
Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet have approved the reopening of schools as of June 1, 2020.
Independent and public ordinary schools will open even in the metropolitan areas.
"Every school is expected to adhere and observe the health and safety protocols that will be put in place.
"Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga said: We will start with grades 7 and 12 and small schools. The other grades will follow in due course.
"In reopening of schools we have been guided by three basic principles; to save lives. Learners and teachers who are in other provinces will be able to return to their residence. Arrangements are in place."
All learners, educators and support staff will receive orientation and training at the start of the school reopening commencing with Grade 7 and 12.
She added: "We are aware of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on families and society in general. It is unprecedented and as a result an increase in social, mental, psychological and emotional difficulties amongst learners, educators and officials, is anticipated due to losses and trauma experienced through COVID-19.
"Schools as social institutions are serviced by the Psychosocial Support Services of the Departments of Social Development and Health. We have been working closely together with other departments in the Social Cluster."
She further emphasized that the Basic Education Sector has psychologists and social workers who had prior training on counselling who will be able to use their skills to support schools.
The revised school calender
The revised school calendar will be gazetted soon. It indicates the opening and closing dates and the breaks in between.
During consultation with social partners it became clear that the department needs a different approach when it comes to special schools said Motshekga.
"We are working with organisations who are advising us on the best way forward regarding the phased-approach of the special schools. Our planning and procurement has considered the needs of learners with disabilities and those in special schools. Provinces have put in place plans that will ensure that no child is compromised," she said.
Early childhood development
The easing of the lockdown restrictions has seen many more people in addition to those providing essential services returning to work.
"We understand that Early Childhood Development centres also provide the necessary caring and feeding services for children from families. Due and careful consideration will be made to ensure that we maintain the delicate balance between allowing ECDs to operate, alongside the safety and health of the children and their caregivers. We are working together with the Department of Social Development on this matter as it straddles both departments at the moment," she concluded.