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Basic Education Dept sets 6 May as tentative return date for schools

Schools will have to follow and implement strict measures such as daily screenings and social distancing.

Chalk and a blackboard duster in the refurbished Samson Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Wednesday briefed Cabinet on the phased reopening of schools.

Motshekga also briefed the National Coronavirus Command Council, Parliament was told, and is expected to make an announcement on Thursday.

Parliament’s education committees were briefed on the department’s plan to get schools functioning again this morning.

The Director-General of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli, said that the aim was to start on 6 May, with the return of learners in grades 7 and 12.

"We are saying we start with grades 12 and 7, which are your exit grades. These are your older, matured and much more aware learners who'll have adequate infrastructure in primary and high schools. For younger learners, when they come they'll help to orientate them."

Portfolio Select Committees... by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

The plan allows for grade 11 and 6 to reopen on 20 May, grades 10 and 5 on 3 June, grades 9 and 4 on 17 June, grades 8 and 3 on 1 July, grades 2 and 1 on 8 July and grade R on 15 July.

Mweli said that strict rules would apply for social distancing and the sanitisation of hands, classrooms and scholar transport, while pupils were also to have their temperatures taken.

Some of the measures will include not having more than two learners per desk, no hugging, shaking of hands or any form of physical contact and cloth masks are to be worn at all times. No sports, choirs, school bands, plays will be allowed and extra classes are to be held in small groups in the interest of social distancing.

Schools will also be required to sanitise classrooms before the start of each school day. Every pupil will have to sanitise their hands as they enter the classroom and the movement of children between classes must be kept to a minimum while there'll be no clustering of desks in classrooms.

School transport buses must be sanitised before every trip, with pupils required to sanitise their hands before getting into the bus. There must be distance between kids on the bus and masks must be worn throughout the school day, starting before they board the bus.

WATCH: Basic Education Dept briefs Parly committees on schooling status