Breaking News: DBE amends return-to-school plan

Children to return to school

Grade 6 and Grade 11 will return to school on Monday. Picture: Jacques Naude Africa News Agency (ANA).

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) have announced that only grades 6 and 11 learners will return to school on Monday.

The decision was taken after five reports, focused on key areas in the basic education sector in a Covid-19 environment, were received. 

“These reports provide a broad review of all developments relating to the phased approach to the return of learners to school.

“The CEM received reports since the first reopening phase and assessed the level or readiness of each provincial education department to receive more learners as envisaged on Monday.

“After careful consideration of all the reports, the CEM decided that only Grade 6 and Grade 11 will return to school on Monday. The decision affects all provinces,” said DBE spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga.

The other grades will be phased in during the month of July in a differentiated approach, within the stipulated time frames as per the Gazette of June 29, as published by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

“We will adjust the reopening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy, which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to school reopening, taking into account all factors that affect the work we do. 

“We are guided in this by an observation of the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country. 

“We recognise that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities, and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said Motshekga.  

The Minister will host a media briefing over the weekend to elaborate on the revised plans aimed at phasing in the remaining grades to allow schools to reach normality by August 2020. 

The details of the media briefing are yet to be announced.