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SAHRC urges Motshekga to postpone reopening of schools by a week

Teachers returned to school this week and already there've been several COVID-19 infections confirmed at a number of schools.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has urged Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to reconsider reopening school from next week.

Grade 7 and 12 pupils can return on Monday and other grades will be phased in every few weeks.

Teachers returned to school this week and already there've been several COVID-19 infections confirmed at a number of schools.

Picture: EWN

The Human Rights Commission has written to Minister Motshekga recommending that she delays the return to school for pupils in grades 7 and 12.

The commission had conducted independent monitoring for readiness at schools in all 9 provinces.

Teachers' unions and school governing bodies were also consulted.

The commission said that while it supported the reopening of schools as soon as possible in order to give effect to children's right to education, it should be done in tandem with reasonable and adequate measures to safeguard their right to health.

After receiving feedback from provincial offices, the HRC learned that a number of schools had not achieved the required readiness to receive learners.

Most observations highlighted the shortage or inadequacy of water and sanitation as well as personal protective equipment and some schools even reported that they had not received the training needed to help deal with the pandemic.

WATCH: No wedding bells yet: COVID-19 Situation Desk - 29 May AM

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.