Department of Basic Education (DBE) minister Angie Motshekga has confirmed at a press conference that schools will reopen to Grade 7 and 12 learners on 8 June.
“Provinces expended their energies to ensure that all prerequisites not yet fulfilled on 30 May 2020, were attended to during the mop-up week from 01 June 2020,” said Motshekga.
Motshekga said that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) met on Thursday 4 June, while a meeting with sector partners was held on Saturday.
She said in both meetings it was agreed that the extra week had ensured drastically improved readiness levels.
“All of these reports confirm we have really moved a long way to be ready to teach on June 8,” said Motshekga.
Motshekga added that the number of provinces classified as having low risk levels has improved from two to six over the past week.
She thanked members of the public who assisted schools in their areas, as well as the private sector – which she said made big contributions to the cause.
Most schools are ready – DBE
DBE director-general Mathanzima Hubert Mweli said that according to DBE data, 97.6% of South African schools are ready to accept learners in terms of their facilities.
This translates to 23,100 of 23,675 schools whose facilities are ready to take learners from 8 May.
Additionally, chief executive of Rand Water Sipho Mosai said that Rand Water has been able to provide water tanks to 2,443 of the 2,634 schools that needed them.
Mweli reminded the public that it will only be 13.4% of all South African learners (1.6 million of a 13.1 million total) that will be received by schools on Monday due to the staggered reopening strategy.
Despite the significant improvements shown by the DBE, Motshekga said the department remains resolute in its view that schools must not open until they are ready.
“The golden rule is that there will be no school that will resume if not ready to do so,” said Motshekga.
Grade 7 and 12 learners whose schools are not yet ready for them will have access to alternative measures which have been developed by different regional departments.
These include sending these learners to nearby schools, using excess boarding school facilities, and putting learners in camps.