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Motshekga to give update on resumption of the academic year

On Monday, Motshekga held a meeting with MECs and heads of departments to finalise plans to ensure pupils are safe when they return to the classroom, which could be as early as next month.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to update the nation on Tuesday on the sector’s state of readiness to resume the 2020 academic calendar.

On Monday, Motshekga held a meeting with MECs and heads of departments to finalise plans to ensure pupils are safe when they return to the classroom, which could be as early as next month.

At the centre of the education department’s decision to not yet announce a final plan has been a number of issues including the delay in deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Schools in the country closed more than two months ago in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Motshekga has had a mammoth task, consulting unions, experts and leaders in the sector trying to find ways of saving the academic calendar despite the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

During a meeting with provinces last week, officials raised concerns about personal protective equipment, which had not yet been delivered to a number of schools.

Motshekga has stressed that without confirmation that PPEs have been received at schools across the country, the department could not finalise any plans as that would put millions of children at risk.

These include the screening of pupils, mass sanitisation and the distribution of masks.

Unions and some experts have warned it may take time for the department to implement all its proposed safety measures, adding that if schools were reopened prematurely, it may be a recipe for disaster.