Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says public schools across the country will reopen on 19 July.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday evening the closure of schools and other educational institutions for the winter holidays would be brought forward.
Schools are expected to start closing from Wednesday due to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, which has seen several schools closed due to a surge in infections.
Motshekga said all schools, including private institutions, will be expected to be closed by the end of the week.
“By Wednesday, that’s the last day for pupils to be in schools. So, teaching will stop on Wednesday. Then we will use Thursday and Friday for teachers and managers to close the schools properly,” she said.
The minister was speaking on Monday at Seemahale Secondary School in Botshabelo, Free State where she was giving an update on her department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Motshekga said the Council of Ministers of Education (CEM) met on Monday morning to deliberate on the country’s move to level 4 lockdown, which is set to last for 14 days.
She appealed to parents to make arrangements for pupils in boarding facilities and those with special education needs to be collected by Friday.
“If you have a child who is somewhere in the Western Cape at a special school, please make arrangements that at the latest, if not by Wednesday, by Friday at 12.30pm there should be no pupil in our hostels and any of our facilities.”
Motshekga said schools should make arrangements for the remaining three days for pupils who are beneficiaries of the National School Nutrition Programme to continue to receive their meals.
Education sector vaccinations
Motshekga also said the Covid-19 vaccination programme for teachers and school staff will continue until 8 July.
So far, more than 200 000 school staff have been vaccinated throughout the country, with the Free State expected to be done with its vaccine roll-out programme on Friday.
“The announcement that schools close on Friday, doesn’t mean our vaccination programme stops on Friday. Teachers should come as scheduled,” Motshekga said.
Motshekga said the CEM agreed that the winter vacation catch-up programme for pupils in Grades 11 and 12 would go ahead under strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
“Unfortunately, some of these camps are residential camps. So, we are requesting provinces to cancel all residential camps because they can be super spreaders,” she said.
The minister said there were pupils still writing their supplementary exams and this would continue.
“And because they’re very few, they normally would not exceed 50 [pupils] per room. Supplementary exams continue and the marking will continue.”