- Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has issued a statement in response to the announcement that SA schools will be closing
- The minister insists that experts agree keeping schools open is the safer option for children despite the announcement of a four-week closure
- Motshekga urged parents to continue with home learning programmes during the closure ahead of the expected peak in Covid-19 infections
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has weighed in with her views on the government's decision to close SA schools for a period of four weeks ahead of the expected peak in Covid-19 infections.
In a statement issued shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Thursday evening, Motshekga stood by the decision to slowly begin the phased return to the classroom:
"It is important to bear in mind that the latest opinions of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, medical and scientific experts is that learners are better at school than in communities and homes where the infections are actually taking place."
The statement continued to say that the initial decision to reopen schools was based on saving lives and livelihood, with the Department saying that:
"Schools and indeed the system are dealing with a completely new environment. The basic education system needs to be afforded the opportunity and space to gradually settle in dealing with the new normal of operating under Covid-19."
Parents, teachers and learners alike were urged by Motshekga to continue with school work despite the closure:
"Schools must make arrangements with parents for learners to get work or materials for them to remain fully engaged during the break. Learners should also be given work as they collect food or when they leave on 24 July, 2020."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that all public schools will be closed for the next four weeks, something he says is the international practice in the face of high infection rates.
Schools will close on 27 July and reopen on 24 August with a few exceptions. The current academic year will be extended past the end of 2020.
Grade 12 learners will only have a one-week break and will be returning on 3 August, while Grade 7 learners will return on 10 August.
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