South Africa: Minister Angie Motshekga On Coronavirus COVID-19 Safety Measures Gazetted for Basic Education Sector

press release

Minister of Basic Education emphasizes safety in new Directions Gazetted for the Basic Education Sector

The Department of Basic Education has issued a set of directions to further provide clarity and guidance on variety of matters affecting the basic education sector in the COVID-19 environment.

The directions were signed by the Minister and issued in the Government Gazette for implementation in the sector.

The key issues addressed include the dates for the phased return of other grades back to school. The directions confirm the date of 6 July 2020 as the date for the following grades to go back to school.

Pre-Grade R;

Grade R;

Grade 1;

Grade 2;

Grade 3;

Grade 6;

Grade 10;

Grade 11;

Schools of Skill: Years 2 and 3;

Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities ("SID"): Grades R, 1, 2, 3 and final year (Occupational);

Schools with Learners with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities ("LSPID"): Years 1-3; and

Schools with autistic learners: Junior Group (below 13 years) and final year (18 years and above)

A notable addition in the directions is in regard to the deviation from the phased approach by schools that wish to bring back other grades to school.

A school may be permitted to deviate from the phased return to school in respect of specific grades or dates, as contemplated in direction 5(1): Provided that such school complies with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures and requirements on COVID-19, referred to in section 5 of the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the DBE

Guidelines and, in the case of a public school, also has all the COVID-19 essentials in place and the principal and chairperson of the governing body or school board or their delegated official notifies the Head of Department of the Provincial Education Department.

The directions also emphasize strict adherence to all health and safety requirements put in place in schools.

The Department of Basic Education will continue to the monitor the return of learners to schools with a sharp focus safety for all.

"We will continue to work hard in schools to make sure that we protect our learners, teachers and employees within schools. It is important to work together to ensure that we beat the virus," she said. The Department is working hard to make sure that all schools are COVID-19 compliant before it can receive learners.

"What is also important is to ensure that even during schools hours and beyond we stick to the basic requirements of wearing the mask, sanitize, wash hands and keep physical distancing", Minister Angie Motshekga.

She urged members of the community to desist from visiting schools as that also increased the risk for more infections.

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