The implemention of Level 3 on Monday June 1 was meant to symbolise the beginning of a return to normalcy.
Part of this return was the reopening of schools, which had been shut even before the lockdown started.
However, in a last-minute announcement on Sunday evening, the deprtment of basic education (DBE) announced that schools would remain closed for another week.
The announcement followed a meeting by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) on Saturday to discuss the readiness of schools.
CEM analysed reports from service providers coordinating with the National Education Trust, Rand Water and the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) before making their decision.
According to CEM, all three reports found that a large number of schools did not meet the necessary health and safety requirements to ensure the safety of both staff and pupils.
“CEM was concerned that, in some provinces, personal protective equipment (PPE) for learners in particular, had not been received; and some schools had not been made ready for the arrival of teachers and learners,” said the department.
As a result of their findings, it was decided that students will instead return to school next week from June 8.
However, school management teams, teachers and non-teaching staff were asked to return in order to prepare their schools for reopening.
“This whole coming week must be used for the proper orientation and training of teachers, the mopping and ramping of all supply chain matters, and final touches to the readiness of each facility for the arrival of learners,” said the department.
DBE acknowledged that some boarders had already arrived, and urged schools to use the extra time to instruct them in proper health and safety procedures.