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Circular hints at 'possible' phased-in return for pupils in Gauteng

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will announce the staggered return of pupils when the decisions have been made for seven grades. File photo.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will announce the staggered return of pupils when the decisions have been made for seven grades. File photo.
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo/Sowetan

The Gauteng education department is planning to “possibly” phase-in pupils from seven different grades when schools reopen on August 24 after the month-long break.

According to a circular to schools dated July 25 and signed by Gauteng education department superintendent-general Edward Mosuwe, grades 3, 6, 10 and 11 were expected to return on August 24. New grades tentatively pencilled in for the same date include grades 4, 5 and 9.

On August 31, pupils grades 1, 2 and 8 are set to return to class.

The circular makes no mention of the return date for Grade R pupils.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last Thursday that all state schools would close until August 24, except for matric and grade 7 pupils. Matrics were given a one-week break and grade 7s will be out of school for two weeks.

In the circular Mosuwe said the staggered return of the grades from August 24 “will be communicated in due course” when the decisions were taken by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

He said the president’s announcement indicated that only grades 7 and 12 will return before August 24.

“At this stage there is no indication that the directions that were gazetted previously have been amended. If these are not amended to indicate a different position, the department will issue guidance on this matter once confirmation has been received.”

The previous directions allowed schools to apply for permission from provincial education departments to also phase in grades earlier than the return dates stipulated by the department of basic education.

TimesLIVE was told that several former Model C schools were planning to bring in other grades by August 11.

Among these are Fairland Primary School in Johannesburg and Manor Gardens Primary in Durban, which are planning to bring in grades R to 7 pupils on August 11.

The two schools had previously applied for permission to bring in grades other than Grade 7 only.

Paul Colditz, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas), told the Sunday Times that the schools were within the law to bring in the grades early as the revised school calendar, gazetted by basic education minister Angie Motshekga in June, was still in force.

Mosuwe said the school feeding scheme will be operational during the break.

The feeding of pupils will take place at schools in a staggered manner to comply with social distancing.

“Pupils will be required to take their own containers from home and ensure they have face masks when they fetch their meals from school.”

© TimesLIVE

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