Blanket reopening of schools was risky - Motshekga on why she backtracked

  • Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga reveals that, following three reports and site visits, it was decided that schools were not ready to reopen.
  • The minister apologised for the late announcement of the decision to postpone the reopening of schools.
  • The next week will be used to do "mop-up" operations to ensure schools open on 8 June.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says it was decided not to go ahead with the reopening of schools on Monday because not all of them were at the same level of readiness, and some were not yet compliant with Covid-19 prevention protocols.

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Speaking at a media briefing in Rustenburg, North West, on Monday, Motshekga apologised for the late communication of the decision after it was only revealed on Sunday evening that the reopening of schools would be delayed by a week. This left parents and pupils stranded just hours before schools were meant to reopen.

Motshekga said a blanket reopening of schools would be "risky".

Motshekga explained a decision was taken on Saturday to use this week to "mop up", with a focus on those schools which were not ready.

Three key reports, as well as site visits to schools, informed this decision, she added.

This decision was followed by meetings with stakeholders on Sunday, which had implications on the decision taken.

The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) also needed more time to map out the reopening, Motshekga said.

Delivery of PPE

Motshekga said the department had not planned through the reopening of schools properly. For example, they planned for the return of teachers, but not for the return of support staff.

Delays in the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as water and sanitation, also contributed to schools not being ready to reopen, the minister said.

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