Preparations Are in Full Swing for Schools to Reopen for Grade 7 and 12 on 1 June

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With less than a week to go until Grade 7 and 12 learners return to their classrooms under level 3 of lockdown, preparations are in full swing at schools across the country to ensure the safe return of learners, come 1 June 2020. 

The delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) is in effect and school desks are being deep cleaned and spaced out, all in line with the social distancing protocols of a 1.5m distance between learners. 

In Gauteng, School Management Teams (SMTs) have made their return to schools to pave the way for the return of teachers. In an update on Monday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, said the province’s schools are ready to open their doors to teachers. 

“We are preparing to welcome our Grade 7s and 12s from 1 June as Gauteng and thus far, all the measures we needed to put in place for all our Senior Management Teams have been met to the letter. We are now moving to the next phase to welcome teachers. After we welcome teachers, we will move to the most critical stage, which is stage 3 of welcoming learners. We will then be in a position to observe whether we can bring in other grades,” said the MEC. 

Following the successful completion of deep cleaning, delivery of PPE and sanitisers at the various schools, Lesufi said by this Friday, all teachers should be at school. 

“From our readiness point of view, we just want to ensure that the School Management Teams are back and receive the PPEs and on the basis of that, teachers will come back. We have 2 800 schools in Gauteng and we will get stock of how many schools have opened and then we will update you on the daily return of teachers,” he said.

The MEC said that teachers that are not fit or ready to start have been given forms to fill in to declare their circumstances, which will then allow the provincial department to kick-start the process of finding replacement teachers. 

Special needs schools 

“We might open them completely. They have a few numbers and you may find that the entire school population is low. We are guided by the sector. For example, their PPEs are different because in some instance, touching can’t be eliminated completely but we have procured their PPEs,” Lesufi said. 

KZN postpones return to school 

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Provincial Education Department has temporarily postponed the return of School Management Teams and teachers to Thursday, 28 May 2020. 

This comes after the assessment of cleaning and delivery of PPE to schools. 

“It has since been discovered that although a sufficient quota of PPEs has been delivered to districts and circuits, it has not yet been transported to schools where it is needed most,” said the Provincial Department. 

The postponement, however, does not apply to circuit managers and principals, who are key to ensuring delivery and receipt of PPEs at school level.