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Minister Angie Motshekga gives update on the preparations for the re-opening of schools during a media briefing held at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria. [Photo: GCIS]

Just in: Motshekga cancels briefing, confusion over ‘back to school’ date

Angie, what’s going on? Minister Motshekga has pushed back a briefing on reopening our schools, but parents and pupils have been left in the dark.

matric exam rewrite

Minister Angie Motshekga gives update on the preparations for the re-opening of schools during a media briefing held at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria. [Photo: GCIS]

It has since been confirmed that Angie Motshekga won’t be addressing the nation until Monday, and schools will only open on Monday 8 June. You can find out more information about this – including what time things should get underway tomorrow – in this updated article.

After speculation mounted to a crescendo over the weekend, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has failed to confirm to the nation if schools will reopen on Monday 1 June, or if they’ll stay closed. Allegedly, it’s due to the Minister ‘being engaged in further consultations on the readiness for the reopening of schools.’

For the best part of the last two weeks, Monday was scheduled to be the first day back for many learners. Announcing the plans earlier this month, Motshekga was confident that the ‘back to school’ blueprint could tie in with the nation’s collective shift to Level 3. But she postponed a crucial media briefing on Sunday…

When will Angie Motshekga brief the nation?

The minister has faced an almighty backlash, though, and her critics have expressed their concerns about sending kids back to school too early. Deaths and infections continue to rise in South Africa, and there are fears that sending thousands of learners back to the classroom could cost a number of youngsters their lives.

Mmusi Maimane has been the driving force behind a petition that wants to keep schools closed in September. But, despite its viral popularity, Motshekga is still calling the shots – and that includes dictating what time her announcement will be. The briefing has now been shifted to 11:00 on Monday.

What day should children go back to school in South Africa? Plans for Monday 1 June up in the air

The timing is a farce in itself. South African parents, teachers and learners will only find out if they can officially go back to school on Monday – hours after the school day is scheduled to start. The chaotic lack of organisation has left many scratching their heads, wondering what date children must actually return to class.

They have managed to tell us the briefing is postponed, and yet, they cannot give us clarity on when children should attend school. Technically, the original date of Monday 1 June still stands. But the chronic shortage of information is causing a logistical nightmare for schools on the eve of their big return.

Angie Motshekga – what will stay the same?

Regardless of the date, we understand the original schooling plan still remains the same going forward: Grade 7 and Grade 12 students will be the first to return to the classrooms, as they reach a critical juncture of their educational journey. Over the coming weeks and months, other grades will be gently phased back into the school day.

Teaching unions and school governing bodies have been adamant in their claims that too many schools are unprepared for reopening. It was reported on Sunday that thousands of facilities are still struggling to meet the intense hygiene requirements schools must have in place during the age of coronavirus and social distancing.

However, Angie Motshekga has left us all guessing on Sunday evening. It’s been a bumpy ride so far, and wherever we go from here, it’s fair to say that some tough decisions are likely to upset the applecart once more – something Motshekga says she has already prepared for.