SA schools brace themselves as more pupils start heading back

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
  • More pupils return to schools, including those in Grades 6, 11 and some Grade Rs.
  • Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the department would attempt to stagger the return of schooling.
  • Since the return of Grade 7 and 12 pupils, 2 740 teachers and 1 260 pupils were infected.

South Africa is set for the return of more pupils to schools on Monday as those in Grades 6 and 11, as well as some Grade R pupils, head back to class.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Sunday afternoon that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) resolved to consider staggering the return of grades – a tactic used by other countries to minimise traffic in schools – while keeping teaching and learning in motion.

READ | Independent body asks for all pupils to return to schools

While the entire country was urged to receive Grade R pupils on Monday, Motshekga said different provinces would be at different levels of readiness for their return. However, she added that all provinces had to receive pupils in Grade R by the end of July at the latest.

Motshekga also said that since the return of pupils in Grades 7 and 12 on 8 June, 2 740 out of 440 000 teachers were infected by the novel coronavirus.

Infection rate

The minister added that this comprised just 1% of the entire teacher population in SA. She said that in the same period, 1 260 pupils were infected. This, she said, implied that 0.01% of pupils were infected by the virus.

Motshekga also announced that 11 teachers had died of Covid-19, as well as four non-teaching staff members and three pupils.

She also said that less than 4% of schools needed to be temporarily closed due to Covid-19 since Phase One of the reopening on 8 June.

Motshekga said it was not yet possible to measure the impact of the school closures because significant pupil assessments were yet to be conducted.

She said a loss of learning and teaching time would not positively impact pupils.

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