Classrooms may remain empty until February 15. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Classrooms may remain empty until February 15. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

A delay in reopening of schools may well be on the cards

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Jan 14, 2021

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The school year may again face disruptions as the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) recommends postponing the reopening of schools from January 27 to February 15 amid a spike of Covid-19 infections.

According to a Sunday Times article, education stakeholders, including school governing bodies and teacher unions, had met with senior officials from the Department of Basic Education on Wednesday night to review the current state of the pandemic and how it can affect schools.

“The NCCC was deeply concerned about the pressure on health-care facilities, given the rapid increase arising from the second wave of Covid-19, with Gauteng, Limpopo and other provinces entering their peak now and with high numbers expected for a few weeks thereafter.”

The NCCC recommended the department should consider delaying the reopening of schools until February 15.

The recommendations are yet to be ratified by cabinet and signed off by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga. Cabinet is expected to make a final decision on the reopening of schools on Friday after meeting with the NCCC on Thursday.

Schools are urged to offer online lessons.

Meanwhile, the National Alliance of Independent Schools Associations (Naisa) said while they understood the urgency and need to save the lives of their pupils and staff, they also needed to consider the impact a delay in reopening independent schools could have on keeping teachers employed.

Naisa believes cabinet should allow independent schools to continue without a delay in the reopening of schools.

The Department of Basic Education will be hosting a media briefing announcing future plans.

Meanwhile, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said it would support any proposal to delay the re-opening until the peak infection period has passed.

“In discussions with the DBE on this matter NAPTOSA therefore supported a delay of not less than 14 days,”Naptosa statement said.

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