The Public Service Commission (PSC) has warned that schools are not ready to fully reopen next month. This comes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases increase throughout the country.
When briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education about the next phase of reopening of schools on Thursday, Minister Angie Motshekga, said her department will work hard to ensure that everything is ready when pupils return to school.
The Commission, however, cautioned that many schools around the country were unable to meet the minimum requirements for hygiene and social distancing, even with the low number of pupils who were now back in the classroom.
PSC highlighted that schools in urban areas had water, but in the rural areas some did not, and many primary schools were still using pit latrines, which would compromise compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
PSC commissioner, Leonardo Goosen, said the basic eaducation department will also face a challenge of replacing educators who have underlying diseases and who are over 60 years old.
“The issue of comorbidity and staff who are over the age of 60 ... we don’t seem to see a clear plan on the side of school management regarding what is going to happen now. Are there going to be replacements and if funds will be available for that,” said Goosen.
PSC intends to meet with the Department of Basic Education to raise its concerns.
Meanwhile, on 6 July several grades are expected back in class. They include Grade R, 1,2,3,6 as well as grades 10 and 11.