News / South Africa / Education

Nelie Erasmus
2 minute read
5 May 2020
10:27 am

Limpopo schools may not reopen on 1 June, says Mathabatha

Nelie Erasmus

Limpopo is a water-scarce province, with thousands of households and villages with no direct access to water.

Picture for illustration. Limpopo Premier, Chupu Stanley Mathabatha, takes a walkabout during a Covid-19 awareness campaign in Malamulele, 4 May 2020.

The phased-in re-opening of schools in Limpopo on 1 June is at this point regarded as a possibility, as among others, the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains challenging, reports Review Online.

On Thursday, Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha said the province had concluded that a phased-in return to school programme of Grade 7 and 12 learners would not materialise on 4 May (the earlier expected date of reopening).

On Friday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that schools would re-open for teachers on 18 May, and on 1 June for Gr 7 and 12 learners.

Last week, the premier spoke during a Coronavirus Awareness and Compliance Campaign held in Malamulele, where the Provincial Command Council meeting was also held in the Collins Chabane Municipality. Given the large volumes of PPE that might not readily be available, the province may not be ready to reopen schools, the premier said.

“There are currently around 83,000 Grade 12’s, around 131,000 Grade 7 learners in the province. All these, including the 13,000 Grade 12 teachers and 19,000 Grade 7 teachers, may not be adequately protected against contracting the virus, and therefore might open the province to a disaster.”

 

Limpopo Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha takes a walkabout during a Covid-19 awareness campaign in Malamulele.

Limpopo is also a water-scarce province, with thousands of households and villages with no direct access to water. This too will prove challenging in terms of the hygiene requirements and regulations announced for when schools reopen.

During the ministerial briefing, Motshekga said the guiding principle in terms of how learners were to return to school, was to lower the infection rate, and ensuring the safety of learners, teachers and employees. Measures were put in place, through the help of technology, to prevent the total loss of the academic school year, she said.

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