The North West Education Department procured wrong masks for Grade R learners. The masks are too big and they can’t fit smaller faces. This means Grade R learners won’t go to school when other grades are phased in tomorrow – Monday 6, 2020. The department said they will communicate the confirmed date for Grade R.

After consultating with the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga regarding phasing in of grades next week, the North West Department of Education (NWDE) agreed to allow only grades 6 and 11 to return to school on Monday.

The province made a considerable assessment of its readiness and opted to halt the return of Grade R learners.

MEC for Education, Mmaphefo Matsemela stressed that the aim is to avoid an influx of grades returning to school on Monday and to save lives while they are waiting for masks for Grade R.

“As the provincial department we opted to delay phasing in of Grade R learners on the initial 06 July. This is because we considered a gradual phasing in approach by halting the return of Grade R learners while Grade 6 and 11 are settling in. This is a safest approach as opposed to the inundation of all three grades at once. By so doing we are continuing to save lives of our learners in adjusting to the new normal”, said MEC Matsemela.

MEC Matsemela further indicated that the department will adjust the reopening phasing in based on the risk-adjusted strategy which is considered an attempt to balance the approach of school reopening taking into account all factors that affect them such as the implementation of the Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs).

School principals and parents will be informed of the return date for Grade R.

The expected number of learners in North West schools is 116 873. This is made up of 68 384 Grade 6s and 48 489 Grade 11s. This number excludes 50 360 Grade R learners.