Eastern Cape schools ‘not ready’ to open on Monday

school classroom being disinfected

Schools are not ready for returning group of pupils in July. File photo: Ayanda Ndamane. African News Agency (ANA)

More than 3 000 schools in the Eastern Cape are not ready for the scheduled return of the remaining grades on Monday. 

A postponement of two weeks is needed to get schools ready for the return of Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11, said Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

More than 200 schools are reported to still be closed due to coronavirus contamination.

Mabuyane said that to contain and mitigate the spread of infections in provincial schools, the provincial Department of Education conducted Covid-19 orientation schools training for 44 776 teachers and 5 040 principals from 5 064 schools. 

The department sent questionnaires to be filled out by schools for the second phase of the reopening of schools. He said 3 085 out of 5135 schools indicated that they were not ready for the planned return to school for all remaining grades.

According to reports, more than 200 schools in the province remain closed following Covid-19 contamination or confirmed cases of infection.

Mabuyane confirmed that 291 schools had been closed for sanitisation, while 91 schools have since reopened. 

Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 set to return to school on July 6.

“The Provincial Coronavirus Command Council has resolved to engage the national government to grant the province an extension of two weeks to prepare all schools to be adequately ready to re-open schools in a manner that meets Covid-19 protocols,” he said. 

According to Mabuyane, the provincial Department of Education transferred R165 million to schools for the School Nutrition Programme.

The premier added that eight Mercedes Benz Sprinter busses were handed over to the education department for special needs schools. These busses were converted to suit the needs of the pupils.

Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Eastern Cape calls for all Eastern Cape schools to be closed. It said the department is not prepared to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.