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COVID-19: 'Training to be provided' as teachers return to school on 25 May

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Tuesday night that schools, both public and private will reopen but only for grade 7s and 12s at this stage.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga at a briefing on 19 May 2020 in Pretoria explains the department's plans to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Several plans have to be put in place ahead of schools reopening next month including orientation training for teachers and pupils.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Tuesday night that schools, both public and private, will reopen but only for grade 7s and 12s at this stage.

Teachers will start returning to school on 25 May to ensure everything is in place for when grade 7s and grade 12s return to class on 1 June.

Educators and pupils will also receive orientation training on what will become their new normal, which includes social distancing in the classroom and on the way to school, sanitising and wearing masks.

COVID-19 essentials, such as sanitisers, masks, water and sanitation are being delivered and schools will be thoroughly cleaned before the pupils arrive.

School sports will not be permitted as this is will increase the chance of infection so when class is dismissed, children must go home.

At most schools, it will be just the grade 7s and 12s who return to class, but some smaller schools will also be allowed to open.

The Department of Education is also working on a plan for special schools as officials have realised they may need a different approach for these schools but have assured that they would be adequately provided for.

If parents want to keep their children at home, they can but they need to ensure that homeschooling is set up.

The revised school calendar will be gazetted soon.

Motshekga has also stressed the need for pupils and teachers to be safe and adequately resourced when they return to school.

WATCH: Grade 7 & 12 pupils can go back to school on 1 June

BUDGET REPRIORITISING

She said her department had suspended all other programmes to focus on addressing water and sanitation problems.

More than 3,000 schools around the country don’t have water supply and proper sanitation.

Motshekga said her department’s budget had been redirected to ensure those schools have water come 1 June: “We’ve had to suspend all other programmes such as renovations, building of new schools and focus strictly on water and sanitation.”

Motshekga said provinces have also indicated that they’ve begun receiving personal protective equipment such as temperature screenings, masks and sanitisers.

“There must be washing of hands, there must be sanitising, there must be spacing and there must be testing every day.”

She, however, said they have taken a decision to delay the delivery of health essentials to schools after some 1,700 institutions around the country were vandalised during the lockdown.