S. Africa to re-open schools on June 1 in phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown

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FILE PHOTO: Children at the Nkomo Primary School in Mnqobokazi, South Africa. (Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

South African schools will be opened on June 1 for Grade 7 and 12 after closing to curb the spread of COVID-19, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has said.

The schools will re-open in a risk-adjusted and phased manner; parents who are afraid that their children can contract the virus can keep them at home, the minister said Tuesday night.

“The forced closure of schools to slow down the spread of coronavirus was a necessary step to take. It remains an important step that was taken to contain the virus as quickly as possible and to save lives,” Motshekga said, ” We agreed that we needed to rise from the coronavirus pandemic working closely together and move forward albeit under different conditions.”

“This is unchartered waters and that’s why we relied heavily on the advice of the experts in the medical fraternity. Countries around the world have been easing restrictions on economic activity while putting in measures to contain the spread of the virus. We have had to consider reopening schools under strict conditions as well,” she said.

The government said mechanisms have been put in place to monitor the schools to ensure there is no spread of COVID-19.

Medical supplies, including sanitizers and masks, have been delivered to schools, which would be sanitized before re-opening, Motshekga said.

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