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All public schools will be closed for four weeks. That was the decision taken by Cabinet and announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on Thursday evening.

“Now with the number of infections rising, there have been calls for schools to close again. Over the last few days the Minister of Basic Education met with organisations and consulted with the Council of Education Ministers. These consultations provided many important insights.”

Schools will close at the end of Friday’s school day and only open again on Monday the 24th of August. Special arrangements have been made for Grade 12 students to return on the 3rd of August while Grade 7 students will return on the 10th of August.

Pressure from various teachers’ unions have been growing over the past two weeks as the spike in COVID-19 infections have risen drastically.

The month-long break in teaching means that the 2020 academic year will have to be extended to 2021. Ramaphosa said more information on this will be supplied in due course.

Ramaphosa confirmed that all nine million learners who qualify for the school feeding scheme will still receive their meals.

While teachers might be happy about the decision to suspend school for a month, many parents, students and the South African Human Rights Commission feel otherwise.

According to a News24 report, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday expressed its opinion on the matter. The SAHRC said on Thursday that it regarded the closing of schools as regrettable and unjustifiable.

South Africa currently has 13 104 positive cases and 6 093 deaths.

Credit image: The South African.

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