The government has decided not to allow all pupils who were scheduled to return to class next week to do so.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the national basic education department said that only grades 6, grade 11 and grade R would be allowed to return as planned on Monday.
The decision was taken following a meeting of the Council of Education Ministers earlier on Thursday.
“The decision affects all provinces,” said spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.
The department on June 29 gazetted regulations that would allow the following grades to return on July 6:
- 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); and
- 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).
However, this will no longer be the case.
“After careful consideration of all the reports, the CEM took a decision that only grade 6, grade 11 and grade R will return to school on Monday July 6, 2020. The other grades will be phased during the month of July,” said Mhlanga.
Education minister Angie Motshekga said the exact return to class would be determined by a number of factors, including the spread of the coronavirus across the country.
“We will adjust the reopening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to school reopening, taking into account all factors that affect the work we do,” she said.
“We are guided in this by an observation of the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country.
“We recognise that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained.”