Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr Reginah Mhaule, has announced that the reopening of schools will be delayed by two weeks from January 27 to February 15.
Mhaule said the department has been consulting with the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), the Heads of Education Departments Committee, the national school governing body associations, teacher unions, learner formations, principal associations and national associations representing independent schools and learners with special education needs.
“All stakeholders were united in supporting a delay in the opening of schools,” she said.
The deputy minister explained that the Council of Education Ministers in conjunction with the National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet took the decision to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks given the pressure experienced by the health system occasioned by increased Covid-19 infections.
“This includes private schools that have opened already. They will need to postpone their opening to a later date. This is done to provide relief to the health system which is already struggling to cope with current demands,” she said.
Mhaule said the new dates for the reopening of private schools will vary depending on the calendar dates they follow.
For public schools and private schools which follow the same calendar, changes are as follows:
- School Management Teams shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021
- Teachers shall follow on Monday, 01 February 2021, and
- Lastly, learners return on Monday, 15 February 2021.
She said the department will have a series of meetings with provinces next week, to check on the very latest, regarding the state of readiness taking into account the cabinet decision from Thursday’s meeting.
Remember, we are at the peak of the second wave. Our health facilities are overwhelmed with patients. This delay of the opening of schools is necessary for now. Thank you for your understanding @DBE_SA @GovernmentZA #schoolsreopening pic.twitter.com/i8h58Pj4ec
— Dr Reginah Mhaule (@ReginahMhaule) January 15, 2021
“What is required now is absolute vigilance, alertness and most of all adherence to the health, safety and social distancing measures that have been put in place,” Mahaule concluded.