The province has 1 815 schools – 1 680 public schools and 135 independent schools.
“The affected schools were directed to quantify the damage and send quotations of the value of the damages to the Department of Education. This will accelerate the process to fix these schools.
“The department condemns the vandalism of schools and requests communities to work closely with the police to expose the culprits who have elected to damage school and jeopardise the future of our children,” Jasper Zwane, spokesperson for the Department of Education, said.
“The department is working with the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport to fix these affected schools as soon as possible.”
He said the Department of Education is satisfied with the management of the phasing in of grades R, 6 and 11 learners in almost all the schools in the province.
There are 65 270 grade R learners from public schools, 19 000 grade R learners from community-based centres, 86 356 grade 6 learners and 77 555 grade 11 learners who were expected to report to schools this week.
In the province, 88 out of the 1 815 schools could not open on June 8 due to various reasons, ranging from inadequate water to improper sanitation infrastructure.
“Schools reported some challenges they were experiencing, the biggest being water and sanitation infrastructure. These are receiving the utmost attention of the department.
“We are hopeful that everyone will be safe in our schools if we all work together in line with the Covid-19 health and safety protocols,” he said. The Department of Water and Sanitation, Rand Water and municipalities are working together to ensure that schools have adequate supply of water.
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“The department further appointed the Mpumalanga Regional and Training Trust to install hand wash basins to 124 schools.
“There have been a number of schools that opened and then closed and opened again due to reported Covid-19 cases.
Since June 8, the department recorded positive Covid-19 cases in 42 schools involving 43 teachers, 15 learners and nine non-teaching staff.
“In all these instances, the Department of Health has been helpful by providing the requisite guidance and directives to be undertaken by schools and the department,” Zwane said.