Private nursery schools that comply with COVID-19 safety measures can open immediately, the High Court in Pretoria ruled on Monday.

Trade union Solidarity had taken the case to court and was supported by the SA Childcare Association, which joined the fight as Friends of the Court.

In a statement, the association says its move was not only based on legal opinion but on the belief that there is enough evidence that the reopening of ECD centres doesn’t present a medically unreasonable risk in the midst of the pandemic.

“This opinion appears to be shared by the Minister of Basic Education, who has allowed for the re-opening of Grade R facilities. The only provision is that the standard COVID-19 operating measures that have already been published be adhered to.”

Below is the court judgment on the matter:

During a media briefing on Sunday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that Grades R, six and 11 would return to school – under strict COVID-19 health safety standards.

She also said that schools that were not ready to welcome Grade R learners should only reopen when all safety protocols are put in place.

Motshekga is visiting a few schools in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, to monitor their adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Basic Education spokesperson Hope Mokgathle says the Minister will be making sure that schools have all the equipment as reported.

“She will be doing an oversight visit to three schools in Midrand, these are Midrand Primary School, Noordwyk Secondary and David Makhubo Secondary School. The three schools are in and around Midrand. Basically, what she will be doing there is to oversee and monitor if the schools are following the COVID-19 protocols as prescribed to ensure things like social distancing and make sure that schools have all the equipment as reported.”

In the video below, Motshekga updates the nation on schools:

‘Make health and safety of learners a priority’

Meanwhile, South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has called on Motshekga to make the health and safety of learners her department’s top priority.

SADTU’s secretary-general Mugwena Maluleke believes the phasing-in of only three Grades, R, six and 11 is an indication that the department is not ready to receive learners at schools.

“Our submission to the Minister had been to study the rising in numbers of the infections in the communities and the delay in phasing in other grades. However, we note that Grades six and 11 will then be phased in. Our position remains that any school that is not in terms of the safety and health precaution should not risk receiving the learners.”