NATIONAL NEWS - The Limpopo department of education announced the suspension of the return of Grade 3 and 10 learners, who were expected to report to school on Monday, as previously indicated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
The provincial education spokesperson, Tidimalo Chuene, said in a statement that the phasing-in was in accordance with amended directions published in the Government Gazette No-43510, by the minister on 7 July.
“The department has, however, after careful consideration of all key variables in phasing back more learners, thought it wise to suspend the return of these two grades to school.
“Further directives on this decision will be communicated in due course,” Chuene said.
This will, however, not have an effect on schools that have applied for deviation from the set prescripts and who were granted permission to phase in certain grades earlier, Chuene confirmed.
Chuene added that the decision does not affect arrangements that are already in place for pupils who benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme.
“All eligible learners will continue to receive their meals at school,” the statement concluded.
Schools and a surge in Covid-19 cases have been a talking point since their reopening on 8 June, when most Grade 7 and 12 pupils returned to their classrooms.
Teachers’ unions, many parents and some experts were up in arms over the reopening of schools at a time when Covid-19 cases are increasing daily.
Various organisations, including Mmusi Maimane’s One South Africa Movement (OSAM), the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) have been calling for schools to close.
Motshekga revealed that over 16,000 teachers have underlying health conditions, placing them at higher risk should they contract Covid-19.
“As at 23 June, 16,168 educators had declared comorbidities. The processing of applications is ongoing, and therefore the numbers are not final”.
The minister said the number of teachers who work from home, would be finalised once the process of approving and granting all concessions had been completed and that, where needed, a substitute would be provided.