Re-Opening of Schools in the Northern Cape

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The Northern Cape Department of Education is satisfied in the manner in which schools displayed their commitment to comply with COVID-19 regulations and guidelines yesterday.

We have deployed the Northern Cape Provincial Government Executive Council, PROVJOINT members and Senior Officials of the Department to 108 schools to monitor and assess our systems and controls in place at schools.

The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr. Reginah Mhaule accompanied MEC Mac Jack to Pampierstad High School to monitor the reopening of schools. During her visit she indicated that:” We are forced to adapt to the new normal in schools to curb the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our educators and learners is of paramount importance, hence we have put in place the necessary systems. I am convinced that Northern Cape schools are ready to open”.

We must however indicate that nineteen (19) schools in Pixley Ka Seme District could not open due to an increase in the COVID-19 infections specifically in the Renosterberg and Umsobomvu local municipalities, which posed a risk to the opening of schools in the area. We will announce the dates when these schools can open in due course.

The Northern Cape has 534 schools offering Grade 7 and 12. Out of the 534 schools, a total of 515 schools opened yesterday with minor challenges that were reported. We have taken note of these challenges and we are working tirelessly to address these matters.

Our general findings during the monitoring visits to assess the reopening of schools were:

  • Schools have adequate classrooms and desks to accommodate Grade 7 and 12 learners;
  • 4 schools reported shortages of hygiene packs;
  • 3 schools reported challenges with adequate and clean ablution facilities;
  • 16 schools reported challenges with the supply of water from the municipality;
  • 12 schools in ZF Mgcawu District, 1 school in John Toalo Gaetsewe District, 1 school in Pixley Ka Seme District and 4 schools in Namakwa District experienced learner transport challenges.

We are also concerned about the malicious reporting from media houses and the public about the situation at schools. This is detracting the attention of the Department and the community from areas where minor challenges are experienced. We appeal to members of the media and the public to first confirm or verify information with the Department before making it public. This false messaging and reporting creates unnecessary panic and anxiety in schooling communities and reverse the gains we have made to ensure that schools are ready to open.

As we continue our engagements, we will strengthen the directions to the extent necessary. Other than affirming health, safety and social distancing measures and requirements, the directions upholds the phased reopening of public and independent schools, which started with Grades 7 and 12 learners; followed by a cluster of Grades on 06 July 2020; and the last cluster of Grades reopening on 03 August 2020. We are in the process of revising the 2020 school calendar year, to accommodate the peculiarities’ brought by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

We also want to express our sincere gratitude’s to our parents, teachers and learners, who had to patiently endure the ill-effects of the abnormal 2020 school calendar year with us.  We can assure you that your anxieties are ours too; we too have spent the sleepless nights you spent.  We have done and will continue to do our level best to ensure that our schools are safe.  All of us are therefore, called to do whatever we are expected to do, to ensure that our school communities and spaces do not become the new hotspots for the COVID-19 pandemic.

We would like to thank in particular our Teacher and Worker Unions as well as the SGB Associations for their unwavering commitment and oversight as we prepared for the re-opening of schools. The relentless efforts of School Principals, School Management Team and Educators to ensure that schools are ready to receive learners are evident of their commitment towards the future of our children. We salute you and wish you all of the best for the rest of the 2020 school academic year.

Northern Cape Office of the Premier
Physical address of Head Office
JW Sauer Building
Corner of Roper and Quinn Streets
Private Bag x5016
Kimberley
8300

Contact Telephone Numbers
053 8382600

Email Addresses
ZLangeveldt@ncpg.gov.za
cynthiaJoseph@ncpg.gov.za
pmathakgane@ncpg.gov.za(Ministry)
BThomas-Abrahams@ncpg.gov.za(Ministry)

 

VISION 
A prosperous province with quality of life for all. 

MISSION
Improving government’s performance through coordination, strategic leadership, and integrated planning and monitoring and evaluation.