Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says personal protective equipment will be delivered to schools before learners return.

Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners are set to return to classrooms on Monday, June 1.

Speaking while checking the readiness of schools to reopen in Pretoria, Motshekga says schools across the country have ensured curriculum and staffing issues have been resolved.

She has expressed confidence that schools will be fully cleaned, sanitised and prepared for learners to return.

“What is remaining, is to get PPEs to be delivered, they will arrive. People will come and clean. There are youth brigades to come in their numbers to come and tape. But the difficult part is done, the staffing, curriculum…”

In the video below, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visits Ivory Park Secondary School

Concerns raised over the reopening of schools

Equal Education has raised concern over the state of readiness of rural and township schools for the phased reopening of schools.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says school senior management teams have received materials like sanitisers and masks ahead of the phased reopening. Materials are also being stored at warehouses.

The Minister says the Department will be gazetting a revised school calendar before the end of May.

NGOs and teacher unions have called for the Department to ensure that learners are not at risk when they return to school.

“We have concerns or are cautious around the just-in-time delivery proposition that’s been put on the table by the Department of Basic Education. We’re worried that the Department of Basic Education or provincial departments especially the rural provinces may not be ready, in fact, to meet the standard operating procedures or protocols that have been put on the table by the Department of Basic Education,” says Equal Education’s Noncedo Madubedube.

Parents worried

Some parents in the sprawling township of Majwemasweu in Brandfort, in the Free State, have vowed to reject any plan by the Department of Basic Education to reopen primary schools.

Brandfort has been battling with chronic water shortages and parents say they fear that their children may contract the coronavirus.

“In terms of our children, it’s not safe at all. I really don’t think it’s a good idea for our children to go back to school it’s not safe for us. The water was an issue from the beginning in Brandfort it has always been an issue so children going back to school it’s clear an aspect that we can’t overlook it poses a danger,” says one parent.

The One South Africa Movement is taking government to court over the reopening of schools. Leader Mmusi Maimane says President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed to respond to the organisation’s letter, asking for reasons why children will be going back to school in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed the lives of 552 South Africans.

The Movement’s petition against the reopening of schools has garnered 150 000 signatures.

“These are passionate South Africans who believe that in fact the decision to open schools on 1 June is irrational and would put our children’s lives at risk. We are willing to take any action to ensure that children are safe in schools, educators and all support staff.”

#NotInMyName vows to picket over reopening of schools

Civil rights group #NotInMyName has expressed its intention to hold a picket against the reopening of schools for Grade 7 and 12 learners next week.

#NotInMyName secretary general, Themba Masango, says despite there being a need for the school syllabus to resume, it is more important to save lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the video below, #NotInMyName activists picket over the matter: