Article by: Natalie Müller
Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshegka addressed the South African nation today on the state of readiness, on the reopening of schools.
Motshegka said that they have been looking at trends worldwide to see what the country can learn from them before the reopening of schools, which is being done with precaution.
Motshegka condemned the vandalism of schools since the beginning of the lockdown period, saying nationwide we are sitting at a total of 1577 schools which have been destroyed, burned or vandalized.
The minister confirmed and shared with the public, the following shocking figures on the vandalism of schools since the beginning of the lockdown period. Motshegka said 463 schools in KZN have been vandalized and 336 Schools in Gauteng respectively. She noted that this is a disturbing trend and serves as a major setback to the Department of Education.
Tonight she touched on the state of readiness for the reopening of schools, which has been a bone chilling and nerve wrecking questions on many South African parents.
Motshegka said that senior management teams have received the materials required I order to prepare for the reopening of schools. She also emphasized that based on the current trend of school vandalisms, the Department could not bare the risk of sending the stock of essential goods far in advance as it would not be safe to leave them at the schools.
The reports show that preparations are taking place and good progress is being made. All deliveries of PPE materials are being made but not to schools, instead they are sent to warehouses, as an outcome of the current trend of school vandalisms, it would not be safe to leave or store all the essential materials at the schools just yet said Motshegka.
All sanitary essentials needed in order for schools to operate will be sent to schools across all the provinces as there is monitoring of such across all the provinces. Reports from provinces confirm that orders are being placed and deliveries are being made.
Essentials that are already arriving at schools are sanitizers, masks, water and sanitation and schools will be cleaned and are being cleaned already said Motshegka.
The provision of water.. we have entered into an implementation program with the Department of Water and Sanitation
She said one obstacle has been looking out for staff and pupils who have pre-existing illnesses.
“We also urge parents to work closely with schools to ensure that learners with pre-existing illness are also assisted… This matter is of paramount importance and we appeal for cooperation in this regard.”
Another challenge is providing water. The department will introduce a “just in time” protocol to ensure water delivery said Motshegka.
Regarding special schools, Motshekga says the department needed a different approach when it comes to special schools. “We are working with organisations who are advising us on the best way forward regarding the phased-approach of the special schools.”
Schools will start receiving teachers from 25 May.
Regarding school nutrition programmes, the department will ensure food will be provided for as early as 1 June, for pupils who start on that date.
Regarding pupil transport, the department is trying to ensure that pupils sanitise and wear masks on buses. All schools will reopen on 1 June, Motshekga says.
Grades 7s and 12s will open on 1 June, and the department will look at special schools and provide an update at a later date.
This is a developing story.