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Basic education department says school reopening dates to stay the same for now

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Basic education department says school reopening dates to stay the same for now

11th January 2021

By: News24Wire

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The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says schools are still on track to reopen on 27 January.

This, despite the country being in the grips of a second wave of Covid-19 infections with a new variant of the disease that younger people are more susceptible to.

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On Monday, head of department, Mathanzima Mweli, said: "Our risk adjusted differentiated strategy indicated that schools wouldn't be allowed to operate on alert Level 5. At alert Level 4 you allow for exit grades such as Grade 12 and Grade 7. At alert Level 3, you'd be able to bring in most of the grades.

"That risk-adjusted differentiated strategy allows us to deal with areas differently. If you have a hotspot and it is impossible to get schooling running there, you obviously have to opt for a different option."

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Mweli said the department's team of researchers was confident schools could open safely in the next two weeks.

"The research team has been able to research what has been happening in the whole world. There is a piece of work that they have done to look at the data in terms of mortality rates, in terms of [hospital] admission rates and other variables.

"The outcome of that exercise indicates that there is not a significant variation from what was picked up before in terms of the impact of the virus. Their analysis is that it doesn't seem to reflect any significant impact in terms of mortality rates, even of learners."

He said the data used was from the health department.

Mweli said representatives from basic education would, on Tuesday, present their findings to the National Coronavirus Command Council.

"That meeting will decide whether they will allow us to proceed with the reopening of schools. From our side, the dates are what we communicated," Mweli said.

Netwerk24 reported that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proposed that schools reopen in February, once the second wave had passed.

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