6 044 schools in KZN will reopen on Monday, 104 schools won't
Durban - Despite having 104 schools not ready to reopen on Monday after failing to meet all the Covid-19 safety and health regulations, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala says it is all systems go for 6 044 provincial schools.
The schools that are not ready to re-open on Monday are mainly in water-scarce districts of Zululand, Umkhanyakude and Ugu. He said those schools will remain closed and will only be opened once they are fully compliant with Covid-19 regulations.
Zikalala said this in Durban on Sunday while giving his weekly Covid-19 report to the media and the state of readiness for schools.
“Given the work done over the past month, the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal is now ready to welcome learners from tomorrow 8 June 2020. We have made efforts to respond to all the non-negotiable requirements and held consultative engagements with stakeholders in the education sector. In all the endeavours we have put in place, the priority is the safety of educators, learners and all involved in the school management,” he said.
He stressed that there will be no compromise to the safety and well-being of learners and teachers. Moreover, he said should symptoms or a case be identified at the school, Covid-19 guidelines for schools will commence.
“This will entail conducting a risk assessment, which entails contact mapping, tracing and screening. Based on the extent of exposure, a decision will be taken to either close or decontaminate. Out of 6 148 Schools, it is pleasing to report that over 6044 schools are now ready to re-open tomorrow because all the non-negotiables have been met. A total of 104 schools are not yet ready and will, therefore, have a delayed opening,” he said.
The province with 6 148 schools, 90 000 teachers and over 2.8 million learners was together with the Eastern Cape and Limpopo on Sunday flagged by teachers unions as having schools that are not ready to re-open.
KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu said the decision to not reopen the schools that are still lagging behind was taken after consulting with teachers unions. The unions were previously adamant that these schools should not be left behind.
“We all agreed that it’s time that those schools that are ready open and those that are not ready we should not open them, but within a week we must have sorted everything so that by next week all learners go to their schools,” Mshengu said.
While Zikalala and Mshengu peg the number of schools not ready at 104, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in KZN said the actual figure is higher.
“This may be caused by the reason that the committees established at district and circuit levels were never serious about their work in other parts of the province to the extent of sampling schools instead of visiting all schools in circuits,” the union said on Sunday.