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LIVE BLOG: Children should not share books and undermine physical distancing

It's the first day of lockdown level 3 after over 60 days of stringent restrictions on our movements. We can expect to be able to go to school, buy alcohol, and buy things other than essentials. Eyewitness News is in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban on day one.

WATCH LIVE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga givse an update on the reopening of schools after she made an about-turn deciding grade 7s and matriculants will not go back to school on Monday morning as planned.

Masks are being procured from local factories in WC and Gauteng.

Each school is required to give each teacher and pupil two masks each.

Motshekga says there is great pressure on the system to open up as quickly as possible to take in many learners as more parents go back to work.

"It is undesirable to have learners sharing books and equipment", Motshekga says. She says these are areas they are paying attention to.

School feeding schemes will also resume when schools reopen. Nutrition teams have been trained on preparing food under COVID-19 health requirements.

The department says it takes a dim view of indemnity because it makes it seem like it absolves schools of any responsibility. It does not exonerate the school, it says.

This week has also been given so that suppliers meet the demand for PPE.

Motshekga says they had the option to partially open some schools, but they decided to use this week to fix remaining issues.

Motshekga says they don't have much of a say on what private schools do as they plan their reopening.

Motshekga is now responding to questions. She says different circumstances will inform the re-closure of schools such as has been seen overseas.

Hundreds of water tanks have been dispatched to various provinces.

There are schools across SA that do not have water tanks yet.

Khosa says suppliers could not meet the demand for PPE.

Some provinces were still procuring certain items. There were PPE stock shortages.

"It was highly unlikely that schools nationally were going to be ready to open on 1st of June 2020," Khosa says.

Khosa says the absence of emergency response systems made it difficult to manage readiness. He says PPE tracking and verification pointed to a checkered state of readiness.

Khosa says the department is under tremendous pressure to reopen schools.

Godwin Khosa from the department will give a presentation on readiness.

"The national lockdown has affected our lives on so many levels... schooling ground to a complete halt. The reopening was a real uphill," Motshekga says.

"We have lost a whole term, we are likely to lose more days to the virus," Motshekga says.

Motshekga says they have to work very hard to prevent the spread of the virus.

Parents must not send kids to school if kids show any coronavirus symptoms, Motshekga says.

Any school that does not comply with regulations will not be allowed to open.

ABET exams will only be written in December.

Parents who want to homeschool must apply to do so.

All extra-mural school activities will not be permitted yet.

Permits for pupils and staff who have to commute between provinces daily will be issued. Even those transporting pupils must have a permit.

Schools that are ready should use this week for induction of pupils.

Motshekga says children will have different break times, different areas where they can go etc. 

"We have to help our children understand the new environment," she says.

Some teachers have already started reporting for work today.

The department is using this week to mop up.

A principal in Kempton told the minister that teachers were very anxious about reopening today, Motshekga says.

"There were schools that were not ready," Motshekga says.

At some schools, PPE was only delivered on Thursday.

The CEM decided the sector required more time to mop up issues in order to be ready.

State of readiness reports were also received from provinces and it became clear that the sector was at different levels of readiness to reopen.

3 critical reports informed the decision to change the date to 8 June. 

These stakeholder engagements were to ensure that the reopening of schools is compliant with health and safety measures.

Motshekga also met with the Human Rights Commission as they were threatening legal action against opening today.

She says she spent almost the whole of Sunday consulting with key stakeholders.

She apologies for the confusion yesterday.

The Minister is doing her briefing from a school in the North West.

Minister Motshekga is expected to start her briefing any moment now.

Meanwhile, alcohol sales are set to boom today, judging by the long lines already forming from as early as 6am.

Nyanga High School in Cape Town.

Jeppe Boys High is still prepping itself for next week.

The Western Cape has decided to reopen schools today and these parents are not happy.

EWN's Kayleen Morgan is in the Johannesburg city centre, where restaurants are open for takeaways for the first time if over two months. 

The organisations said they were worried that provincial education departments that had not yet received their personal protective equipment would be left behind.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was meant to brief the nation on schools preparedness for phasing in of grade 7 and 12 pupils as the department had announced two weeks ago, as well as further plans for the other school-going children.

Good morning. It's the first day of lockdown level 3 after over 60 days of stringent restrictions on our movements. We can expect to be able to go to school, buy alcohol, and buy things other than essentials. Eyewitness News is in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban on day one.