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Basic Education Dept admits not all schools will be ready for 1 June restart

The Basic Education Department said that while some schools had begun receiving personal protective equipment, a number were still experiencing delays with suppliers.

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

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Basic Education Department has acknowledged that not all schools will be able to resume with learning and teaching on 1 June.

It said that while some schools had begun receiving personal protective equipment, a number were still experiencing delays with suppliers.

Grade 7s and matrics are expected to return to the classroom next week after schools closed more than two months ago.

The department has emphasised that no school will be allowed to reopen if it does not comply with health safety standards.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga: "We are working towards getting all the schools ready, slowly. The issue is that the material that has been ordered is outside the control of the department, we have to wait for suppliers to deliver these items before we can say that people must go to school."

WESTERN CAPE SCHOOL READINESS

However, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Shafer said that more than 80% of schools in the province had received materials for cleaning by 18 May.

"Safety and hygiene packs have been delivered over the past two weeks and will continue this week. Detailed guidelines have also been issued to schools on a variety of topics, including the management of confirmed cases of schools, hygiene practices, and learner transport safety and the management of learners and teachers with comorbidities."

She added that the delivery of temperature scanners and masks for all staff were concluded last week and that schools which were not available to receive deliveries should contact their district offices.

Meanwhile, teachers union Sadtu is not convinced that the Western Cape is ready to go back to school.

The organisation's Jonovan Rustin said that the Education Department had not adequately deep-cleaned buildings.

"We are not very happy with the province's stance to let the non-teaching staff wipe down the surfaces with bleach water, etc. We need to have a collaboration with the private sector and the Department of Public Works to deep-clean and sanitise our schools. So we feel very uncomfortable with the proclamation of school readiness in the Western Cape."

Sadtu is not sure how many members heeded its call to stay away from work on Monday.

Rustin said that they wanted an official stamp of approval from the Labour Department to put their minds at rest.

"We were saying that let the Department of Employment and Labour do a sample of schools and survey and issue compliance certificates because we don't want to have our members going into unsafe places and even worse our children are coming on 1 June and they're coming to place that has not been deep-cleaned."