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Angie Motshekga welcomes scrapping face masks for pupils and teachers

24 June 2022 - 10:00
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says pupils and staff who want to continue wearing a face mask in schools may do so. File image
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says pupils and staff who want to continue wearing a face mask in schools may do so. File image
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has welcomed the scrapping of compulsory face masks, saying wearing masks in schools will be optional for pupils and teachers.

On Wednesday health minister Joe Phaahla repealed Covid-19 regulations governing the use of face masks, limits on gatherings and that people leaving and coming to SA must produce full vaccination certificates.

In a government gazette, Phaahla repealed regulations relating to the surveillance and control of notifiable medical conditions in their entirety.

He said the repeal of the regulations concerned would come into operation on publication in the gazette.

LISTEN | Health minister says SA has reached a “historic day" and "major turning point" in fight against Covid-19

In a statement on Thursday, the basic education minister said her department aligned itself with the development. 

Motshekga said she supported the repeal of the mask mandate for pupils.

“In line with this decision to repeal the regulations, wearing of face masks by pupils in classrooms and indoor gatherings is no longer a requirement. Those pupils and staff who want to continue to wear a face mask in schools will be allowed to exercise this option.”

The department would continue to support Covid-19 vaccination for all pupils aged from 12 years with parental consent.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools also welcomed the decision. 

CEO Jaco Deacon told News24 withdrawing the mask mandate was a “huge relief” for some teachers and pupils.

“Some pupils struggle to hear when teachers are wearing masks and it becomes more difficult for teachers to gauge if pupils have understood the lesson.

“We will support decisions made on sound medical and scientific evidence instead of decisions based on emotion,” said Deacon. 

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