By Taiwo Okanlawon
South Africa government has announced the further reopening of schools in line with its phased-in reopening strategy amid an upsurge in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
According to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, in a statement, schools would reopen for Grades R, 6 and 11 learners from July 6,
Motshekga added that provinces that were not ready to receive Grade R on July 6 must provide strategic and realisable plans for ensuring the reincorporation of Grade R learners to schools within, but not later than the end of July 2020.
She, however, said that the provinces that were ready to receive Grade R learners on July 6 could proceed to receive those learners.
On June 8, South Africa reopened schools for Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners in its first phase of school reopening.
Since then, 2,740 teachers have been infected by the virus, less than one percent of the total number of about 440,000 teachers in the country, according to the minister.
In the same period, 1,260 learners were also infected by the virus, translating to 0.01 per cent of the total number of Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners, she said.
Meanwhile, 968 schools out of the total number of 25,762 schools were closed due to transmissions among teachers and learners, Motshekga said.
Eleven teachers and four non-teaching staff members died of COVID-19, while three learners were reported to have succumbed to the virus, she said.
“All of us must simply follow the health, safety and social distancing protocols on COVID-19.
I”we fail to do so, the road ahead will be difficult for all of us,” Motshekga said, apparently responding to concerns over further reopening of schools.