School nutrition programme will also cover pupils not back at school yet - Gauteng education dept

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The Gauteng education department has committed to continue feeding pupils through the school nutrition programme.
The Gauteng education department has committed to continue feeding pupils through the school nutrition programme.
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  • The Gauteng education department said it will continue feeding qualifying pupils through the school nutrition programme.
  • The nutrition programme covers 1.1 million pupils daily.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday that schools must continue feeding pupils.

Pupils who have not yet returned to school will also be covered by the school nutrition programme, says the Gauteng education department.

On Thursday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that public schools would close from 27 July to 24 August.

However, the national school nutrition programme would continue operating during the break.

Grade 12s would, however, only take a week's break and return on 3 August.

Grades 7 pupils would get a two-week break, returning on 10 August.

"Specific arrangements will be made for different categories of special schools. As a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the current academic year will be extended beyond the end of 2020.

"The Minister of Basic Education will provide details on the management of the remainder of the school year," the president said.

READ HERE | School closures: 'Disappointed, but not surprised' - Western Cape MEC would have preferred two weeks

Speaking during the Gauteng Provincial Command Council briefing on Friday, Gauteng education department head Edward Mosuwe said: "A matter that has become important is that the president announced that schools will be taking a break, but while we take a break we are going to provide nutrition for learners who qualify for school nutrition programme.

"At this point in time, since the re-phasing in of grades we started with 183 000 of the 600 000 that were qualifying for nutrition".

However, on average, the programme covers 1.1 million pupils daily.

The programme has been extended to cover all pupils not back at school yet, in line with a court order. 

"Learners who are not back yet at school have been asked to bring their own containers from home, own face mask and wear their school uniform to be easily recognisable".

During the briefing, Mosuwe also warned parents against the increase of illegal entities purporting to be independent schools.

"There have been many illegal schools beginning to mushroom and we want to warn the public against illegal schools.

"Parents must be aware of sites that offer tuition and they offer it under the guise of lockdown learning or home education".

Mosuwe said those operating the sites should desist from doing so.

ALSO READ | 'It's the unions wagging the dog here' - Western Cape opposed to school closures, says Winde

"There are clear regulatory processes that we follow in respect of which we can have independent schools applying in the current context. We want to indicate and guide parents to be careful of these mushrooming entities that purport to be legally registered," he said. 

Mosuwe also said Covid-19 cases in school have been on the rise, however, the department had been able to respond, together with the health department.

To date, a total of 1 538 pupils out of 600 000 who returned to school and 1 303 teachers were infected with the virus, he said.

Mosuwe said since the reopening of schools, 218 had to be closed following reported Covid-19 cases. 

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