WC Education MEC says schools should open early if COVID-19 measures in place

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that while the health and safety of learners was important, it needed to be balanced out with the needs of the economy.

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

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer believes that schools should be allowed to reopen in June if they have the necessary COVID-19 guidelines are in place.

This comes a day after the Basic Education Department urged all schools to refrain from opening prematurely following reports that some independent and public schools were already preparing to reopen.

The national department said that it was aware of teachers reporting for duty and of parent meetings where plans were announced to have pupils back in class this month.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that government was in the difficult position of deciding when and how schools would reopen.

She said that while the health and safety of learners was important, it needed to be balanced out with the needs of the economy.

"I think it's wise if it's done with only one grade at a time initially, to see that we get it done properly and get the proper processes in place but that, of course, is always subject to getting the proper equipment being available on time because there's been a huge demand for PPEs."

Schafer said that if staff could be supplied with the necessary protective gear and all COVID-19 guidelines were in place, matrics and grade 7s should be allowed to return to schools on 1 June.