South Africa reopens more schools despite rising COVID-19 deaths

Henrietta Brewer
July 6, 2020

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited schools in Midrand to inspect the return of Grade 6 and 11 pupils.

This follows the national Department of Basic Education's (DBE) announcement on Thursday that only grades R, 6 and 11 would return to school next week.

THE Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has asked parents to keep Grade R pupils at home until further notice.

"Many parents and teachers overestimate the personal health risks they face, which in turn, can lead to excessive risk-avoidance, which is detrimental to schooling", said Motshekga. "We have sites that can be accessed whether you have data or not".


The circuit continued to report that since this decision affects all provinces, it aims to advise that all other grades will be phased in during the month of July in a differentiated approach within the stipulated time frames, as per the gazette published by the minister.

Motshekga said provinces that are prepared must accept all pupils that should be back by Monday.

Motshekga also urged pupils to maintain social distancing and not to touch or hug one another.

On Sunday afternoon, Motshekga announced that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) had resolved to consider staggering the return of grades - a tactic used by other countries to minimise traffic in schools - while keeping teaching and learning going.


She says since the return of Grade 7 and 12 learners 2 740 teachers from 440 000 countrywide have been tested positive for COVID-19.

Since schools have resumed following the nationwide hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 1% of teachers and 0.01% of students have become infected.

Since then, about 2,740 teachers have been infected by the virus. "In the same period, 1 260) learners were infected by the virus".

With some grades heading back to the classroom on Monday, the number of COVID-19 infections at schools in the Western Cape continues to rise.


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