Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


67 Gauteng schools will not be ready to welcome learners on Monday – Lesufi

This is due to a range of issues such as vandalism, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of water supply and sewerage systems. 

67 schools in total may not be able to open on Monday due to a range of issues such as vandalism, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of water supply and sewerage systems.

This is according to Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi who was speaking at a media briefing held by the provincial command council (PCC) on Friday.

Lesufi listed the schools district by district and added that this list would be available on his department’s website:

  • 27 schools in the Sedibeng area due to a water pressure issue and sewerage issue 
  • seven schools in Gauteng west due to insufficient water pressure 
  • eight schools in Johannesburg south 
  • one school Erkhuruleni south
  • one school in Gauteng east (Hammanskraal)

“In total, we’ve got 53 schools that have problems with water and sanitation.”

Learners in these schools will be placed at alternative schools. 

Additionally, three schools have damaged beyond repair during the lockdown and will therefore not reopen.

Lesufi added that the aforementioned schools were not closed permanently, they had just been closed until they were able to be brought up to standard.

However, provided that other schools in the province follow the provincial department of education’s ‘safety first’ approach, they should be able to open as planned on Monday.

As per this ‘safety first’ approach, schools must have been cleaned ahead of time, must have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for staff and students, must have the necessary equipment and protocols for regular screening and must have an uninterrupted water supply with toilets that are in working order.

Under this approach, learners will be screened three times a day using what has been dubbed the ‘GDE School screening system’.

They will be screened when they arrive, during break and after school.

The aim of the system is to “assist with capturing daily data relating to the temperature, co-morbidities, disability and other information relating to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“There is no single school or district, office or school in Gauteng that does not have PPE,” declared the MEC.   

Of the 577 schools earmarked for cleaning under the provincial education department’s contract with Bidvest, 572 have been cleaned. 

They have also completely cleaned all of the department’s administrative buildings and teacher centres throughout the province.

1,725 schools in the province which can be classified as ‘self-managing’ had undertaken to handle their own cleaning process. These schools were provided funds by the department for this and “to date 177 self-managing schools have submitted proof of completion”.

According to Lesufi, all Gauteng schools have finished the mapping of where pupils will be seated to enforce social distancing. 

Scholar transport and school nutrition programmes have also been planned for.

The MEC urged parents of children who are not part of the school nutrition programme to pack them lunch to avoid crowing at tuckshops and canteens on school premises once schools open. 

“We are also under Level 3 and there are regulations in terms of the selling of food. We are bringing that element in the schools as well.”

Infections in schools

11 educators and one learner have tested positive thus far. 

“All the protocols have been executed with the assistance of the department of health.” 

The schools they worked at were shut down and cleaned and the staff were traced and placed under isolation. Their contacts were also traced and urged to do the same.

Home education

The department is cognizant of the fact that there are parents who are worried about their children returning to school on Monday so they have made provision for those who wish to formally take up home education.

Parents can choose from one of four options; class contact (going back to school), homeschooling, e-learning (lockdown learning), and schools with special needs (which also accommodates children with pre-existing conditions).

The department has extended the application deadline for home-schooling to September and has made all the necessary information regarding this available on their website.

Lesufi stated that homeschooling currently serves grades 1 – 9 and added that his department is working with the national basic education department to change policy in a way that allows homeschooling for all grades and provides a teaching framework that ensures uniformity across all provinces.

Learners with special needs

LSEN learners attending school of skills Year 4, will be allowed back at school on Monday. 

“Learners with severe intellectual disabilities in grades R, 1, 2, 3 and 6 ad learners with severe profound intellectual disabilities in grades 1 to 3 will only come back on 6 July 2020.”

The MEC explained that schools for children with special needs and other conditions such as autism require a lot of physical contact. Educators in these schools, therefore, require specialised PPE and there has been a delay in the delivery of their PPE. 

“We are fine-tuning the safety protocols in those schools so that learners who need assistance are left unattended because the educators were told not to touch them,” concluded Lesufi. 

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