Government reopens schools

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE government this week reopened schools albeit on a rotational basis for learners after several months of no classes.

Private schools opened starting yesterday.

The Minister of Education and Training, Ntlhoi Motsamai, announced the reopening of schools on Monday during an online press conference.

The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro relaxed lockdown restrictions from the orange to the purple alert stage on Sunday.

“The Ministry of Education and Training will reopen schools from 3 March 2021 and all schools are expected to adhere to standard risk-based guidelines as stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” Mr Motsamai said.

Among the WHO guidelines is the strict use of masks, sanitising, and observing social distancing.

Although the school calendar was disrupted by incessant lockdowns last year, all learners will be allowed to embark onto the next grade this year.

“Schools closed down in 2020 due to Covid-19 and learners did not get to complete the grades they were in, so this year all students are expected to be promoted to the next grade.”

He said the ministry has therefore, altered the school curriculums to help students to catch up for lost time.

“Schools should adhere to standard risk-based guidelines and always practice physical distancing among the learners. Where there is need, schools can also use weekends to continue with lessons. Teachers should work together with parents so that such programmes are possible.”

He said the Ministry of Education and Training was collaborating with the Ministry of Health in all districts of the country to ensure that regular inspections are made at schools to ensure that they are adhering to Covid-19 regulations.

While private schools opened for all classes yesterday, Mr Motsamai said the openings would be staggered in three phases for public schools starting with secondary schools which must all have opened by 8 March 2020.

The second category will be for early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and primary learners from public schools who will attend classes on rotational basis to avoid congestion.

“In public schools, reception, grade five, six and seven will open school on 6 April while ECCD, grade one, two, three and four will open from 12 April 2021,” he said.

The third category is for tertiary institutions and technical and vocational education and trainings (TVET). These have all opened with strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations.

Mr Motsamai said the government would soon provide soaps and sanitisers for learners and teachers.

 

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