Just days before a majority of school grades were meant to return to class, the Education Department has abruptly halted some of their plans.
The Department of Education has back-tracked on its plans to bring most pupils back to school on Monday. A total of five year groups have been told to stay away next week, as Angie Motshekga plans to brief the nation over the weekend to explain what happens next. However, there are three grades that will still be allowed to restart their academic studies in the classroom on 6 July
At the end of June, Angie Motshekga reaffirmed that pre-Grade R, Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 6, Grade 10 and Grade 11 students would returning to an official learning environment on 6 July. This, despite South Africa going head-first into its COVID-19 peak. Over 8 000 new infections were reported on Wednesday, and it would appear that the ministry has been spooked.
Who goes back to class next week?
The grades that will return to school on Monday 6 July
- Grade 11
- Grade 6
- Grade R
- Grades 7 and 12 will continue to attend as per usual
The grades that will not be returning to school on Monday 6 July
- Grade 10
- Grade 3
- Grade 2
- Grade 1
- Pre-Grade R
- Grades 4, 5, 8 and 9 were only due to come back later in the month anyway
Why has the Education Department’s plan changed?
In a recently-released statement, the Department of Education revealed that a spike in ‘community transmissions’ had forced their hand. They’ve faced criticism for their phased-in approach, and now, Motshekga and her colleagues are going to have to put the handbrake on across the whole of South Africa.
“After careful consideration of all the reports, CEM took a decision that only Grade 6, Grade 11 and Grade R will return to school on Monday 6 July. This decision affects all provinces, and other grades will be phased in throughout the rest of July, in a differentiated approach to be outlined by [Angie Motshekga] this weekend.”
“We are guided in this decision by the rising number of community transmissions throughout the country. Schools are based in communities, and therefore, we must maintain a careful balancing act.”
Statement from the Education Department