Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the delivery of the COVID-19 essentials such as sanitisers, masks, water and sanitation was being done ahead of the phased reopening of schools from 1 June.
Pupils in grades 7 and 12 will be the first to return to school in a phases approach.
Motshekga said the delivery of the COVID-19 essentials such as sanitisers, masks, water and sanitation was being done ahead of the phased reopening of schools from 1 June.
At the same time, Motshekga said all food handlers at public schools would be supplied with the required personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes gloves, aprons and cloth masks.
The minister said the PPEs had already been procured by provinces as part of a basic health and hygiene package
“The school nutrition budget will be utilised according to the revised school calendar and where feasible, school meals will also be extended to catch-up programmes for the Grade 12s,” she said.
“We are confident that the reopening of school across provinces will happen as outlined in the protocol that has been developed. The reports we got are showing that preparations have been taking place and good progress has been made,” Motshekga said.
The minister announced on Tuesday that the National Command Council (NCC) and Cabinet had approved the reopening of schools on 1 June.
“There was always certainty that schools were going to open, but we must ensure learners and teachers are safe,” Motshekga he said.
Motshekga said the Department of Basic Education had relied on health experts and experience from other countries in informing its plans for the resumption of the academic year.
The minister condemned the vandalism, burning, and robbing of 1,577 schools during the lockdown period. She has appealed to the public to work with police in bringing perpetrators to book.
Motshekga said senior management teams had received the required personal protective equipment.
Schools in the country closed more than two months ago in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On Monday, Motshekga held a meeting with MECs and heads of departments to finalise plans to ensure pupils are safe when they return to the classroom, which could be as early as next month.
A number of issues have been at the centre of the Education Department’s decision to not yet announce a final plan, including the delay in deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE).