Back to class: Dozens of schools still not ready

It seems a number of schools across the country will remain out of action – at least for now, the Department of Basic of Education has said.


The department said at least 55 schools are not yet ready to welcome students, due to a number of defects including water and sanitation as well as infrastructure challenges, vandalism and interference from school governing bodies (SGB)


Grade 7 and matric pupils returned to the classroom on 8 June 2020, following consultations and a wave of backlash against the decision.


Schools have been closed since the country went into lockdown in March, in an attempt to counter the spread of the coronavirus. As part of the department's move to gradually resume academic activities, pre-Grade R, Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 6, Grade 10 and Grade 11 learners are expected back into the classroom on Monday, 6 July 2020.

Schools to report to the department


As per the department, the schools are expected to communicate in writing, the number of COVID-19 cases as well as any failures to meet the health, safety and social distancing measures. The Head of Department (HOD) would then determine whether the schools may be allowed to welcome back students.


The HOD also has the responsibility to "formulate a plan for a school that did not meet the health, safety and social distancing measures which must include the scope of the problem, measures taken to address the problem and challenges experienced in addressing the problem", the department said.


"The HOD is also required to make reasonable arrangements with schools for the provision of teaching and learning material to learners who are unable to attend schools due to a comorbidity, being self-isolated or quarantined, closure of a school or a determination to re-open a school"


The department has issued a set of guidelines to give clarity on several matters relating to the continuation of school in the aforementioned grades.


Schools of skills' years 2 and 3 will also resume classes, while schools for learners with severe intellectual disabilities (SID) will also continue.


Schools for learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities (LSPID), year 1 to 3, and autistic learners junior group (below 13 years) and final year (18 years and above) will also resume, government has said.


According to the department, the institutes of learning may be permitted to deviate from the phased return to school in respect of specific grades or dates, provided that they comply with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures and requirements on COVID-19.