Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said during her assessment of school readiness in Gauteng on Thursday, that her department will not allow schools to reopen if the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) is not available.
Motshekga visited Ivory Park and Seshego Secondary schools in Olievenhoutbosch ahead of the 1 June reopening for Grade 7 and 12 learners.
Under Level 3 regulations learners and staff are required to undergo screening every day before entering the school premises and must have PPE’s in the form of face masks. Sanitisers must also be delivered for the use of all on the school grounds.
The minister said she was pleased with the rate at which schools were preparing for reopening, and that schools will be fully cleaned, sanitised, and prepared for learners to return.
With just four days to go Motshekga said they would open on time: “We are working towards the 1 June because just reorientating the space is not easy. We are expecting that on Monday and Tuesday we can use for inductions, reorientation and to make sure that we can thoroughly deal with the health issues.
“On Monday, I’m expecting them to deal with the orientation and the distribution of PPEs to kids, making sure that every child has their own books.
“On the 1 June, whoever is ready must start but if they didn’t get their PPE in time it’s fine we won’t force them to start if they don’t have the relevant protective clothing,” said the minister.
The phasing of other grades is under consultation, Motshekga said the department would look at the capacity of schools on a case by case basis.
“We have an audit team that will visit school by school so that we don’t take chances. For now, I really want to focus our priority on Grade 7 and 12 and see how the system is able to cope and stabilise because it is a new environment.
“When we feel confident that our feet are firmly on the ground we will then deal with each institution case by case,” she said.
(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)