Schools are to reopen in phases from the planned date of 6 May

Schools are to reopen in phases from the planned date of 6 May

Schools are to reopen in phases from the planned date of 6 May, although this is subject to change, MPs have heard. Feedback from social cluster ministers was that 18 May could be more feasible.

On the first day, only Grade 7 and Grade 12 pupils are expected to go back to school.

Grade 11 and Grade 6 pupils are scheduled to follow two weeks later and pupils in other grades will follow every two weeks until Grade R pupils’ anticipated return on 15 July.

The dates are according to the plan for a phased approach to reopening schools, which Department of Basic Education director general Mathanzima Mweli presented to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education, Technology, Arts and Culture on Wednesday morning.

However, later in the briefing, after MPs questioned the feasibility of 6 May for schools to reopen, deputy minister of basic education Reginah Mhaule said the plan was presented to the social cluster of ministers on Tuesday, who said 6 May is not achievable.

“On the 18th, our children are going to school,” Mhaule concluded her address to the meeting.

he plan wasn’t final and was expected to be presented to and approved by the National Command Council shortly after the virtual meeting with the two committees.

Pupils and educators will be screened for Covid-19 when schools reopen and if they have raised temperatures, they will be considered for isolation and testing.

There will also be strict physical distancing measures and more than 40 pupils in a class will not be allowed.

Matrics will write their full exams, covering their whole curriculum, but other grades will be tested on 80% of the curriculum, which will be reworked.

The matrics’ mid-term and year-end exams will be combined and rescheduled for November and December.

The meeting is still in progress.

*This story has been updated with more info from the briefing.