Coronavirus News Africa

Motshekga: Comprehensive catch-up plan needed for school closures amid coronavirus threat

The closure of all schools was important to combat the threat of the coronavirus in South Africa, but a comprehensive catch-up plan must be devised by those concerned, said Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

The minister said that schools were one of the biggest threats in the transmission of Covid-19, which is why drastic steps were needed to prevent its spread.

Speaking at an inter-ministerial media briefing on Monday, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a state of national disaster, Motshekga said: “The drastic step of closing schools has become necessary, but we also need to ensure that measures are put in place to mitigate the impact.”

Schools will close on Wednesday, 18 March, and reopen on 14 April, as directed by Ramaphosa. It means 10 schooling days will be lost. But this will be made up by shortening the mid-year break. 

Ramaphosa had also placed a ban on gatherings larger than 100 people.

According to Motshekga, certain concessions will have to be made to make up for lost time.

“Once opened, schools will be encouraged to extend tuition hours.

“It must be noted that this directive affects all schools – public, independent and private schools. The technical aspects of these measures will be addressed by the concerned parties.”

Motshekga added that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) had agreed that “each province, district, circuit and school should have a practical and comprehensive catch-up plan”.

“As things stand right now, and based on expert advice, we should be able to manage the coronavirus in such a way that the negative impact on schooling is minimised,” she added.

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