Lockdown: Schools reopen despite vandalism, taxi violence and other challenges

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  • Schools have reopened as the country moves to an Adjusted Level 3 Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Despite vandalism during unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, all schools have reopened in the province.
  • In the Western Cape, ongoing taxi violence remains a concern.

Classrooms filled up on Monday as schools reopened for the third term, despite challenges in some provinces.

The reopening coincides with the country's move to an Adjusted Level 3 Covid-19 lockdown, which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night.

Primary schools will continue with rotational timetables until 2 August, when the traditional and daily timetable is scheduled to be implemented.

In KwaZulu-Natal, where almost 140 schools were damaged amid looting and unrest earlier this month, provincial education department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethewa said all schools had opened.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu visited Phoenix and neighbouring communities, following extensive talks with community stakeholders to ensure teacher and pupil safety.

"We are satisfied. We have prepared for this day. We've been preparing for the last two weeks. All is going on well. Schools are opening [and] teachers have been vaccinated. Covid is now a step behind us, and we are focusing on teaching and learning," he said.

Oversight, monitoring visits

Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said oversight and monitoring visits were taking place to ensure schools were prepared for the new school term and to "welcome back all educators and learners".

The visits will continue until 2 August. All primary school pupils will have returned by then.

More than 63 000 teachers have been vaccinated in the province, Mtima added.

In the Western Cape, the term started off without any major incidents, despite concerns that ongoing taxi violence could affect pupils, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said.

She said:

The WCED has not yet received reports of any major incidents this morning on the return of learners to schools. We have asked schools to please report any major disruptions as a result of the taxi violence.

In Gauteng, 43 schools had been vandalised since the beginning of the year. Eleven cases were reported during the school holidays. Of the 43 schools, 29 have been repaired.

Work is in progress at the other schools.

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