South African Government

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MEC Debbie Schäfer welcomes return to full-time school attendance

1 Feb 2022

Minister Schäfer welcomes return to full-time school attendance

I am extremely pleased with the announcement yesterday that the National Cabinet has decided that all schools should return full time.  We have been calling for this and welcome this development.

The time lost in school has implications not only for academic progress but also aggravates societal issues such as learner pregnancies and the risk of dropping out of school.  Parents have had to make alternative arrangements whilst trying to work, or if they cannot, their children are left unattended, adding to safety risks.

We met this morning with Minister Motshekga, and the plan is that schools should be ready to receive all learners from Monday next week.  This will give them time to make all the necessary arrangements.

I also asked that the issue of mask-wearing for children be reconsidered.  I have received a number of requests from parents in that regard.  There is conflicting evidence on this issue, and it was agreed that the matter will be processed through the Council of Education Ministers for recommendations and consideration. As always, we will rely on expert evidence when making decisions in this regard.

I really hope that the State of Disaster will also soon be a thing of the past.  It is time that we learn to live with the coronavirus and manage it responsibly as a sector and as provinces, so that we can return to a state of normality as far as possible.

Media Enquiries:
Kerry Mauchline – Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schäfer