Schools: Dept gears up for phasing in other grades, as Covid-19 cases rise

  • The Department of Basic Education is gearing up for the phasing in of other grades.
  • Grade R, 1 and 2 are among the second group expected to return on 6 July. 
  • Minister Angie Motshekga says the department would continue working with schools to ensure they were safe.

While Covid-19 infections continue to creep in at schools across the country, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) says it will continue monitoring safety precautions as it prepares to phase in other grades in July.

On Tuesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gazetted regulations on the dates for the return of other grades and operations of schools amid Covid-19.

Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 are expected to return from 6 July, according to the regulations. Remaining grades 4, 5, 8 and 9 will be among the last group expected back on 3 August.

Compliance with health, safety and social distancing requirements during the reopening of schools.

The department has also issued guidelines for schools wanting to deviate from the approach and phase-in grades earlier. It emphasised that schools would, however, have to adhere to the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures and requirements.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said it would continue working with schools to protect pupils, teachers and supporting staff from being in danger.

READ | 'State worked hard to ensure children won't be walking into Covid-19 raging fire

Motshekga urged the public to continue to not visit schools, arguing that visits increased the risk of more infections.

"We will continue to work hard in schools to make sure that we protect our learners, teachers and employees within schools. It is important to work together to ensure that we beat the virus.

"What is also important is to ensure that even during school hours and beyond we stick to the basic requirements of wearing the mask, sanitise, wash hands and keep physical distancing," Motshekga said.

Several schools across the country have had to shut their doors after teachers and pupils tested positive for the virus, among the hardest hit being the Eastern Cape.

News24 reported on Monday that the Eastern Cape provincial education department was forced to close 196 schools due to the pandemic since the reopening of grade 7 and 12s on 8 June.

Some schools in the province were still faced with, among others, shortages of personal protective equipment and water supply.

As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed positive cases around the country now stands at 106 108, increasing by more than 4 000 cases in one day.

South Africa also recorded its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours - 111 fatalities. 

The number of recoveries stood at 55 045.

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