The temperature of a grade 7 pupil is taken as he returns to the Meldene Primary School in Johannesburg Monday, June 8, 2020…
The temperature of a grade 7 pupil is taken as he returns to the Meldene Primary School in Johannesburg, June 8, 2020.

School children in South Africa are returning to class amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has closed schools for several weeks.  

The first group of students, 7th and 12th graders, returned to class Monday as part of a gradual loosening of coronavirus restrictions. 

The restart of the school year was delayed after the teacher's union attempted to create a work stoppage, telling teachers the school system was not equipped with sufficient masks and gloves. 

The parent of one 7th grader, speaking to a reporter said, “How can we be safe when teachers are not even sure that they are safe, do you understand. We take our children to those schools knowing that the teachers are not safe."

The temperature of a grade 7 pupil is taken as she returns to the Meldene Primary School in Johannesburg Monday, June 8, 2020.

Although school staff checked the temperature of children entering schools and masks and gloves were handed out, some parents were not sure the schools were ready. 

South Africa Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said no school will resume if not ready. 

She also said the school system will make alternative arrangements for schools unable to reopen.  

The schools are reopening, with South Africa confirming more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases and just over 1,000 deaths. 

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