NATIONAL NEWS - The Department of Basic Education has pushed the reopening of schools for learners to 15 February.
Deputy minister of Basic Education, dr Reginah Mhaule, made the announcement in a press conference earlier this morning.
Mhaule says the delay includes private schools that have reopened already. She said this is done to provide relief to the health system which is already struggling to cope with the current demands.
The new dates for the reopening of private schools will vary depending on the calendar that they follow.
For public schools and private schools which follow the same calendar, changes are as follows:
• School Management Teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021;
• Teachers shall follow on Monday, 1 February 2021; and
• Lastly, learners return on Monday, 15 February 2021.
The SMTs will go first to prepare for the return of teachers; and the teachers will prepare for the return of learners. Schools will use the time to finalise outstanding matters, regarding admissions, especially the unplaced learners in certain cases. Dr Mhaule said this difficult decision, having considered all factors is backed up by research and statistics, regarding the current state of the health system. “The priority remains saving lives.”
There will be a series of meetings with provinces next week, to check on the very latest, regarding the state of readiness; taking into account the Cabinet decision from yesterday’s meeting, Mhaule added.
“Now that Cabinet has taken a decision, we will once again go back to our stakeholders for consultation on the details of the opening of schools for 2021 school year, amid the pandemic.”
“Let me take this opportunity to thank the Minister, MECs, HoDs of PEDs, our social partners and stakeholders, as well as all colleagues in the sector for the work done thus far.” Mhaule said we are living under difficult circumstances that require commitment, dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness.
She closed saying what is required now, is absolute vigilance, alertness; and most of all, strict adherence to the health, safety, and social distancing measures that have been put in place.
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