PRETORIA. — South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has detailed some of her department’s plans to provide personal protective equipment to learners.
Motshekga announced last week that the country’s schools would reopen for Grade 7 and Grade 12 students on June 1, 2020.
Responding in a parliamentary Question and Answer session yesterday, Motshekga said that every learner will be provided with two masks. She said that these will then be replenished later in the year in the case of loss or damage.
Motshekga said that this decision was made because no child will be allowed onto school premises if they are not wearing a mask.
- Other measures announced include:
- Hand sanitisers will be available in every classroom for students;
- Soap will also be provided in instances where sanitisers are not available or have run-out;
- Sanitisers will be used to clean surfaces every day;
- Extra precautions will be put in place at schools in high-risk areas which have reported a high number of cases.
Motshekga noted concerns from teachers unions that protective equipment for students had not arrived at all schools, however, she said that all schools will have supplies for learners by June 1.
“The strict instruction given by (the Department of) Health is that priority number one is to ensure that schools are not centres of infection. Priority two is that they don’t spread infections. These are the priorities that were put in place before we even began talking about saving the (academic) year.
“This is why there are going to be strict protocols from when students first enter the gates. There will be strict testing and if a school does not have a thermometer it will not operate.
“It has not demarcated safe distances (between learners) it will not operate. If a school has not received its mask or other supplies it will not operate.”
Motshekga said that in most cases children are at the least risk of facing harmful effects from the coronavirus. However, she said that all protocols will be put in place to ensure that children do not contract the coronavirus at school and transmit it to loved ones at homes.
“If they are not infected when they come in, they shouldn’t be infected when they leave school.” — Businesstech.