Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, briefs the media to provide an update on the sector’s response to the impact of Covid-19 on schooling. Photo: Supplied/GCIS/Siyabulela Duda
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, briefs the media to provide an update on the sector’s response to the impact of Covid-19 on schooling. Photo: Supplied/GCIS/Siyabulela Duda

School closures will be dealt with on school-by-school basis due to high Covid-19 rates, says Motshekga

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jun 19, 2021

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the schools will not be closed due to high infection rates in other parts of the country.

"The current situation we find ourselves in does not warrant us that we should close schools," Motshekga said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Saturday.

She said closures will be dealt with on a school by school basis.

Motshekga added that there was no need for a blanket approach to the closure of schools.

There were currently more than 25 000 schools across the country and it would not make sense to close down schools if a few schools in a province were affected.

She said following a meeting of the Council for Education of Ministers (CEM), the unions, principals and school governing bodies, it was decided to keep the schools open.

The schools will remain open until they close on July 9.

The minister said they will monitor schools on a weekly basis. She said they keep monitoring the situation.

Motshekga also said they will vaccinate the teachers and were targeting 582 000 teachers and support staff in the education sector.

She welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that vaccines for the basic education sector had been secured.

The CEM also welcomed the subsequent announcement by the Acting Minister of Health, Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that the sector could now proceed with vaccinating educators and support staff, Motshekga said.

“As you may already know, the vaccines have arrived, and are in the process of being distributed to all provinces. Provinces confirmed today that they are ready for the vaccination programme,” she said.

Motshekga said the departments of health and basic education had been working around the clock to finalise a plan on vaccinating educators and support staff.

“We have also been working very closely with our stakeholders, who have contributed immensely in ensuring the success of the vaccination programme," said Motshekga.

She said they will keep schools open and would not allow any closures.

Motshekga said that subsequent to the CEM meeting, they held consultation sessions with key stakeholders, including teacher unions, national associations responsible for governance in public schools, learners with special education needs, independent schools, and the South African Principals Association regarding the sector’s response to Covid-19.

“I am glad to announce that we are all in agreement regarding the approach to be taken from today onwards,” she said.

“With the support and guidance from the Department of Health, the vaccination programme will unfold in the Basic Education Sector with immediate effect.”

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