Statement on the ACDP’s support for the phased reopening of schools

The ACDP has welcomed the fact that the Department of Basic Education (DBE), together with the Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga, have taken a phased approach (meaning that it will be incremental) to implement plans to reopen schools.

The reopening of schools will be done based on assessment, school by school, on their individual readiness. This will also be done in consultation with stakeholders – of which parents, teachers, and SGB’s, are the most important.

The ACDP further notes Minister Motshekga’s commitment that a school will only be opened if it meets all the individual readiness requirements. The ACDP will continue to perform in its role as public representatives to hold the DBE to account in that regard. We will be monitoring and reporting on the readiness of schools or the lack thereof. We will also engage with the DBE and bring to their attention where there are not satisfactory health and safety measures in place at schools (those which are opened from June).

The ACDP’S support for the phased reopening of schools is realistically based on the following facts:
· Schools provide protection and food security to children in our most vulnerable communities.

· More parents, who do not have the support available to them to have their children cared for, will be returning to work from June (considering that the easing of the lockdown to alert-level 3 will presumably take effect on 1 June 2020).

We wish to highlight that Minister Motshekga yesterday recognised the right of parents to home-school their children should they not deem it safe for them to return to school at this time. The ACDP encourages parents to utilise this right in choosing what is best for their children. We have consistently – over the years – called for the rights of parents to be recognised by the DBE when deciding how to best educate our children.

We, however, must note that not all South Africans have the option to home-school their children. The safety and wellbeing of our children is paramount in everything that we do. It is in this regard that we welcome the phased reopening of schools.

Covid-19 requires our faith and courage in the uncertain, unchartered territory. The landscape will be changing and challenging – our resolve will be tested. We ask for your prayer for the nation, and we also ask that you continue to engage with us.

We are aware that the systems globally are being shaken, and that from it will emerge a new way of doing things. We also firmly believe that the new will emerge through creative and active engagement.

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