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Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of the outbreak of Covid-19 as a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, schools have been identified as one of the biggest threats in terms of the transmission. Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, therefore attended an Inter-Ministerial briefing on 15 March 2020 to mitigate the impact of the virus on the Education Sector.

In accordance with the announcement by the President on 15 March 2020, schools closed from 18 March 2020, and will resume on 14 April 2020. To compensate for the ten lost school days, the June holidays will be cut short by a week. Once opened, schools will be encouraged to extend tuition hours. This directive affects all schools, public ordinary schools and independent schools.

The following programmes are affected: The Spelling BEE; the ABC Motsepe South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE); the Moot Court; School Athletics; Assemblies at school; and School Camps.

Provincial Education Departments (PEDs), districts and schools are encouraged to utilise the time effectively by ensuring that learners participate in established stimulating programmes such as the Read to Lead programme; maths buddies; and constructive holiday assignments through the supervision and guidance of parents and the broader community whilst at home. This will be supported through the provisioning of workbooks, worksheets and readers. Each province, district, circuit and school must have a practical and comprehensive catch-up plan to be implemented. As things stand right now and based on expert advice, we should be able to manage coronavirus such that the negative impact on schooling is minimised.

Minister Motshekga concluded by saying, “It is time that we get parents to play their part in the education of their children. We appeal to everyone to cooperate and ensure that we put the interest of our children on top of the priority list”.

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