DBE: Schools will remain open until further notice

children in a classroom

Schools have been a topic of discussion since their reopening on June 8. Picture: Courtney Africa, African News Agency (ANA).

As the pressure builds up for schools to close amid a surge of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) announced that schools will remain open until further notice.

Minister Angie Motshekga will engage with all education stakeholders in the sector by Friday, before she meets with Cabinet over the weekend.

The department’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said, “We wish to reinstate that the decision to reopen schools was taken by Cabinet after extensive consultation, which culminated in the phased approach to the resumption of duty in the sector”.

According to Mhlanga, the purpose of the meetings will be to discuss the peak of the pandemic and its relation to schools. 

“The engagements will inform the minister’s proposals to the Cabinet at the weekend. Once all the engagements have been concluded, an announcement will be made regarding certainty for the sector.”

 Schools have been a topic of discussion since their reopening on June 8, when most Grade 7 and 12 pupils returned to classrooms.

 Several teacher unions, parents and experts have pleaded with the department for closure of schools after pupils and teachers started testing positive across the country.

Organisations such as Sadtu, Naptosa and Mmusi Maimane’s One South Africa Movement (OSAM) have been calling for schools to close since the department’s initial announcement of the reopening.

SA’s largest teachers’ union, Sadtu had announced on Tuesday that it had resolved that schools must close during the peak period, stating that its decision was motivated by among, other things, evolving science.