Director-general of Basic Education Hubert Mathanzima Mweli announced tentative dates for reopening of schools. He said pupils in grades 12 and 7 could be the first to return to school on 6 May. Meanwhile grades 11 and 6 were scheduled to return on 20 May.
According to Mweli the dates are subject to change as part of a draft amended school calendar. He listed a number of non-negotiable pre-conditions for the reopening of schools. The list included water and sanitation, Covid-19 essentials, cleaners, screeners and additional teaching posts to avoid overcrowding.
“A basic and essential hygiene and sanitation package has been developed and provinces are procuring items. The department has developed guidelines for schools on maintaining hygiene during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mweli.
He added that the will be provision of mobile classrooms, and the introduction of incubation camps for progressed and weaker learners on grade 12. Additional pre-conditions for resuming learning activity includes safe transport for learners and employers, screening of learners and employees on entering institutions.
He also said learners will be required to wear face masks, along with all staff. Each learner will be supplied with three face masks. With all the remaining grades expected to return in June and July proposed return dates for learners are as follows:
Grade 5 and Grade 10 – 03 June, Grade 4 and Grade 9 – 17 June, Grade 3 and Grade 8 – 01 July, Grade 1 and Grade 2 – 08 July and Grade R – 15 July
Meanwhile the new school calendar for learners is proposed as follows:
Term 2 – 6 May to 26 July, Term 3 – 3 August to 23 September and Term 4 – 28 September to 9 December
The director-general sated that June exams will be cancelled with the school year likely to end later – moving from 4 December to 9 December. The May/June exams for grade 12will be combined with the October/November exams and rescheduled for November/December.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande anticipate to unpack reopening of educational institutions on Thursday.