Motshekga firm on July 6 return for the rest of schoolgoing pupils
Cape Town - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has emphasised that July 6 will
see pupils from Pre-Grade R and grades
R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 return to school.
Motshekga also signed for the other schools to reopen, including those of skill: years 2 and 3, schools for pupils with severe intellectual disabilities: grades R, 1, 2, 3 and final-year (occupational), schools with learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities: years 1 to 3 and schools with autistic learners: junior group (below 13 years) and final-year (18 years and above).
She said a notable addition in the directions was in regard to the deviation from the phased approach by schools that wish to bring back other grades to school.
According to Motshekga, 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 comply with the minimum health, safety and physical distancing measures and requirements on Covid-19.
“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.
Equal Education, Equal Education Law Centre and Section27 said those directions nullify and replace the directions that were published by Motshekga on May 29 and June 1.
“On June 3, the Equal Education Law Centre, representing Equal Education and Section27, wrote to the Basic Education Department highlighting concerns around the lawfulness and constitutionality of certain aspects of the original set of the department’s directions.”
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez welcomed the developments in the early childhood development (ECD) and partial care sector, including the pre-opening self-assessment, but has called on the national department to commit to time-frames for the reopening process.
Researchers from Stellenbosch University’s economics department, Servaas van der Berg and Nic Spaull, recently completed a report titled “Counting the Cost: Covid-19 school closures in South Africa and its impact on children”.
“Consequently, all children should return to schools, crèches and ECD centres without any further delay. The profound costs borne by small children and families as a result of the ongoing nationwide lockdown and school closures will be felt for at least the next 10 years.”
They also found that one of the primary findings emerging from the medical research around Covid-19 was that age and mortality risk were strongly correlated.
“That is to say that the risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19 is heavily concentrated among the older cohorts of the population.”
They said South African data from the health department (as at June 9) and reports the distribution of Covid-19 mortality by age.
“It shows that 81% of people who died from Covid-19 in South Africa were 50 years or older, and that 58% were 60 years or older. This age distribution of deaths is somewhat ‘younger’ than those seen in most high-income countries.”