The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has decided not to allow all pupils who were scheduled to return to school next week to do so.
The department on June 29 gazetted regulations that would allow the following grades to return on July 6:
- Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6,10, 11;
- schools of skill: years 2 and 3, schools for learners with severe intellectual disabilities (SID): grades R, 1, 2, 3 and final year (occupational); and
- schools with learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities (LSPID): years 1 -3; and
- schools with autistic learners: junior group (below 13 years) and final year (18 years and above).
However, this will no longer be the case.
The department announced on Thursday that only Grades 6, Grade 11 and Grade R will be returning to the classroom on Monday.
“The decision affects all provinces. The other grades will be phased in during July in a differentiated approach within the stipulated time frames, as per the Gazette of 29 June 2020, as published by the Minister,” the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said on Thursday.
According to the department, the decision was made after Minister Angie Motshekga's meeting with the Council of Education Ministers (CEM).
“The meeting of the Minister, Deputy Minister and all MECs of Education, accompanied by Heads of Education Departments, received and considered five reports focusing on key areas in the basic education sector in the COVID-19 environment,” the DBE said.
The reports include implementation of the annual teaching plans (ATPs); registration and support to learners, whose parents elected to continue with schooling but have not registered for home education, and registration and support to learners with comorbidities.
Discussions also included the turnaround time for dealing with comorbidities; examinations and assessment in a COVID-19 environment, as well as the monitoring and evaluation report conducted by the National Education Collaboration Trust-led consortium.
“We will adjust the reopening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy, which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to schools reopening, taking into account all factors that affect the work we do."
Motshekga said that the department's decision is guided by the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country.
"We recognise that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said the Minister.
The Minister will host a media briefing this weekend to elaborate on the revised plans to spell out how remaining grades will be phased out to allow schools to reach normality by August 2020.
The details of the media briefing will be announced in due course where all other matters will be addressed.