Lockdown Level 3: Schools open after delay

National Teacher's Union president Allen Thompson comments on the national reopening of schools after a delay in COVID-19 preparations. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - It's back to school on Monday for thousands of Grade 7 and 12 pupils after more than two months away from their desks.

The reopening of learning institutions had to be postponed last week following concerns by various stakeholders and teachers' unions.

READ: Unions welcome reopening of schools

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Sunday said 95 percent of schools are ready to open their doors on Monday.

Motshekga said no learning institution will open its doors if it's not ready to do so.

"Alternative measures have been developed by different districts such as temporarily using neighbouring schools, using underutilised spaces in boarding schools and putting other learners in camps," she said.

READ: 95% of schools supplied with COVID-19 related PPE: Motshekga

One of the major stumbling blocks has been access to water at some schools.

Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai said, "we had a target of 2,634 tanks that we had to provide to schools during this time. This does not mean all those schools were without water.

"We have supplied over 2,900 schools that wanted us to fill their tanks. We need to deliver the remaining tanks; we believe in a week or so that will be done."

READ: COVID-19: Sadtu firm on classroom health safety measures​​​​​​​

Vandalism has also delayed the delivery of necessities to schools.

After their initial reluctance, five teachers' unions are now welcoming the reopening of schools, but with the caveat that teachers and pupils be protected.

National Teacher's Union (Sadtu) president Allen Thompson said teachers must not report for duty if they have not been supplied with personal protection equipment and if they do not have access to running water at school.

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