As the number of reported COVID-19 cases increases in South Africa, the country’s deputy minister of Basic Education Regina Mhaule has announced that the country’s scheduled school reopening will be postponed to the impacts of the second-wave of the pandemic in the country.
“Given the pressure experienced by the health system in the past few weeks occasioned by the increased COVID-19 infections which has led to the second wave, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), in conjunction with the National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet has taken the decision to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks,” Mhaule said.
“This is done to provide relief to the health system, which is already struggling to cope with the current demand.”
“The CEM took this difficult decision having considered all factors as backed up by research and statistics regarding the current state of the health system. The priority remains saving lives,” she added.
She also made it known in her report that all stakeholders were consulted and they supported the new delay in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
“We consulted the Council of Education Ministers, the heads of education departments, the national school governing body associations, teacher unions, learner formations, principal associations, as well as the association representing independent schools, and learners with special education needs,” the deputy minister said.
For public schools and private schools which follow the same calendar, the deputy minister announced the changes as follows:
- School management teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday 25 January 2021
- Teachers will follow on Monday 1 February 2021
- Learners will return on Monday 15 February 2021
However, for private schools, the dates for reopening could be different as it will depend on their own calendars. Regina Mhaule also added that DBE will work closely with provincial education departments in order to establish the true extent of the impact of the virus which has led to the death of hundreds in the country.
COVID-19 outbreak in SA
As of Thursday Jan. 14th, the country has recorded a cumulative which total nearly 1.3 million positive COVID-19 cases with a sudden rise in the number of cases in the region of 18,000 within 24 hours after additional tests were carried out.
The number of fata cases had also increased by a whooping 712 which bring the number to about 35,852 in total with recoveries in the region of 1,049,740.
The highest number of deaths occurred in the Eastern Cape, followed by the Western Cape, and Gauteng.
The growing number is increasing concerns as government officials are looking for the best remedies to flatten the growing numbers. The Coronavirus outbreak which became a global phenomenon by the first quarter of 2020 had since led to death of million across the globe.