Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says government has reconsidered its plans for the return of additional grades and only grades six and 11 will be required to return to class on Monday. The grade Rs who will return to class are those from schools that have COVID-19 safety measures in place.

The Minister says schools that are not yet ready for the return of Grade Rs must submit plans for their future return. Grade six , 11 and the returning Grade R learners will join Grades 7 and 12 who returned last month.

Motshekga says 4% of schools nationwide were forced to close and re-open because of the coronavirus, since classes resumed for grades seven and 12 on June 8th. She was speaking in a virtual media conference from Pretoria.

Motshekga says this amounts to 968 of the country’s 26 000 schools. The Minister says less than point one percent of learners were affected by coronavirus outbreaks since classes resumed and three learners have died, some of whom were not at school.

She says the majority of coronavirus cases registered at schools are due to non-compliance of the health and safety regulations, such as the wearing of masks, social distancing and constant hand sanitising.

Motshekga says the statistics mirror the general picture nationally when it comes to the pandemic.

Motshekga says after careful consideration and consultation with all Basic Education Department stakeholders, it was agreed that water provision and sanitation receive urgent attention.

Motshekga has assured all parents and learners that they will all have access to clean water.

“To date, we can report that additional 2174 tanks were delivered, with Rand Water assisting with the filling of tanks, also the defence force also participated in the process and again we have a lot of water boards and municipalities have worked with us to ensure a sustainable water supply and appropriate sanitation in our schools.”

Motshekga’s full briefing is below: