WATCH: KZN schools are ready to open on June 1: Education MEC
Durban - Following the announcement by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga that schools would reopen on June 1, KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said schools in the province were ready to resume classes.
Schools across the country have been closed for more than two months as South Africa implemented strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Motshekga on Tuesday evening said that after extensive consultation with education stakeholders, the national Cabinet and the National Command Council had given the department the green light to reopen schools.
She said teachers would go back to schools on May 25, while pupils in Grades 7 and 12 would be the first to return to school in a phased-in approach adopted by the department.
Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday at the Public Works offices in Mayville about the state of readiness for the reopening of schools in the province, Mshengu said all will be in place to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers. He said a number of schools had already been sanitised and more will be done before June 1.
"We have procured essentials needed for the reopening of schools. We will be issuing two masks per pupil and teacher. We are expecting the last deliveries of these essentials by tomorrow (Thursday)," said Mshengu.
This week, Mshengu visited schools in the King Cetshwayo District where water tankers were sent to schools to ensure proper hygiene conditions would be followed.
He said the department was working around the clock to ensure the smooth reopening of all schools in the province.
"I am confident that all schools will be ready to receive teachers and pupils on their respective dates of return to schools," he said.
Mshengu said the department would be prepared to deploy substitute teachers in place of those teachers that would not be able to return to work due to their pre-existing medical conditions.
He said as the biggest education province in the country with many schools in deep-lying rural areas, exacerbated by many infrastructure challenges, such as ageing schools, schools that were vandalised and torched during lockdown were adding to their challenges.
"The vandalism of schools is one thing that is putting a strain on the department's financial situation. We thank the communities that assisted the department and the police with information that has led to the arrest of 28 suspects in the torching and vandalism of schools. We need to be sending a strong message to the criminals that they will be caught out," he said.
Mshengu said his department would be sending mobile classes to the affected schools so that they are able to start teaching and learning.