Reopening Schools Under Covid-19
As countries begin to ease lockdown restrictions, schools around the world are starting to reopen. In South Africa, reopening schools with COVID-19 numbers still expected to spike raises unnerving concerns for parents. Grade 7 and 12 pupils were set to return to the classroom on the 1st of June with other grades being phased in at a later stage.
However, after meeting on Saturday (30 March) the council of educators decided that many schools are not ready to open after accessing their readiness. The Dept. of Basic Education's Elijah Mhlanga said: “Three reports were tabled [on Saturday] ... All the reports indicated that a substantial number of schools were not ready to open on 1 June.”
The resumption of school is now expected to take place on the 8th of June. This was followed by strong opposition from various teacher unions and bodies who expressed that the one-week delay has caused "astounding confusion" and a “betrayal of trust” as they had not agreed to the 8th of June.
According to the unions “No school must be left behind, especially not because of incompetence and tardiness… we all wish schooling can resume as soon as possible, but not at the expense of their health and safety” and have called for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to meet on the 11th of June for "genuine assessment and engagement."