There is no crisis at schools, says Basic Education Department

Johannesburg – The Basic Education Department has dismissed reports that some schools were facing a crisis as more pupils returned to school yesterday.

Eight grades were welcomed back into the academic programme on Monday after a precautionary break last month to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Somme teachers’ unions said their members raised concerned over shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), overcrowding and overwhelmed.

The department said learning successfully took place in the majority of schools across South Africa, as millions of learners went back to school, for some, for the first since March.

The Department’s Elijah Mhlanga said:  “Let’s allow the system to take in learners, to settle down and then we will assess the situation again. We should refrain from using the word crisis. There is not crisis. We need to think of solutions.”

He admits that there were challenged faced by some schools on Monday including implementing the timetable, which aims to rotate various grades to control overcrowding and maintaining social distancing.

“We believe the rotation system will work as it allows us to keep schools as 50% capacity and to maintain social distancing.”

The department has pleaded with parents, teachers and pupils to work together.

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