The Johannesburg metro police department has urged motorists to be extra cautious on the roads as traffic volumes increase due to the opening of schools.

Metro police officers have been deployed across the city to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar says, “Motorists are urged to drive with extra caution today as schools reopen for the first term. Traffic volumes are likely to be heavier on main roads and drivers should look out for children and particularly near schools as children and pedestrian volumes will definitely be more today as compared to other days.”

New school calendar

Schools were initially supposed to reopen for learners on the 27th of last month, but this was delayed by two weeks due to the second COVID-19 wave. The department issued a new school calendar last week, which could help to give schools 40 weeks of learning and teaching during this academic year.

The first term starts on Monday and will end on April 23. The second term will commence on May 3 and end on July 9.

Minister Angie Motshekga made the announcement in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon.

Space challenges

Minister Motshekga says the demand for space in schools, especially for Grade one and Grade eight learners, remains a challenge.

She says although good progress has been made in provinces, more than 16 000 learners are still awaiting spaces in schools.

Health and safety

The Minister says her department will continue to maintain a balance this academic year between health, safety, and dealing with curriculum gaps in schools, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Motshekga says the impact of the coronavirus continues to be felt in the Basic Education sector. More than 1 100 educators have passed away from COVID 19 – with over 150 teachers being lost this year alone.

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