Grade 7 and 12 pupils could be back in class by 6 May


In a joint meeting between the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture on Wednesday, the education department has laid out its plans to save the school year.

A draft amended school calendar was shared in the presentation, though it is still to be confirmed this week by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

It suggests teachers will be back at work by 4 May (Monday), with pupils back on 6 May. Grades will be phased in, starting with final years in primary schools and high schools (only grades 7 and 12 at first). The presentation emphasised that the proposed dates are currently tentative.

They said schools would be sanitised and subjected to infection controls and awareness programmes. The usual June exams have been cancelled and the school year is now likely to end later with the final term lengthened, with the last school day moving from 4 December to 9 December. Teachers will be on leave from 11 December.

Learners will have to wear face masks, along with all staff. Wearing face masks outdoors is mandatory for all citizens anyway. The department will be putting measures in place to assess whether a school is safe enough to reopen.

There will be screeners in all schools. The department has said that schools play a relatively small role in the spread of the virus worldwide.

The department also advised that a plan was also in place to allow for pupils to work from home using e-learning where possible. Teachers and pupils with pre-existing conditions and teachers over 60 will likely have to continue to learn and teach from home.

The Citizen/Charles Cilliers