New Lock-down Rules for South African Schools

The Department of Basic Education has published a new directive outlining the return plan for students after a government-mandated break.

South Africa’s public schools began the four-week break from physical teaching from 27 July amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

While some students are due to return before this four-week break concludes, a number of grades have not returned to school since the introduction of restrictions in mid-March.

The latest directive outlines the returns process as follows:


Week 1 (27 – 31 July 2020)

  • The principal and the school management team will determine the staffing requirements to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements and to assist with the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme;
  • The principal and the school management team must be on duty to make arrangements for the receipt of the learners anticipated in the weeks ahead;
  • Schools will remain open for feeding of qualifying learners in terms of the National School Nutrition Programme.

Week 2  (3 – 7 August 2020)

  • Grade 12 and Year 4 learners at schools of skill will return to school on 3 August 2020;
  • Grade 12 and Year 4 schools of skill teachers and support staff will return to school on 3 August 2020;
  • The principal and the school management team (as required) will be in attendance at school;
  • Officials will return to school on 3 August 2020, to assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

Week 3 (11–14 August 2020)

  • Grade 7 learners will return to school on 11 August 2020;
  • Grade 7 officials and teacher support staff will return to school on 11 August 2020;
  • The principal and the school management team will be in attendance at school;
  • Officials, who are at school, will assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

Week 4 (17– 21 August 2020)

  • All officials will report for duty on 17 August 2020 to prepare for the return of learners in the remaining grades;
  • Grade 7; Grade 12; and schools of skill: Year 4 learners and officials will already be at school;
  • Officials who are already at school will assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

Week 5  (24 August 2020)

The following learners will return to school on 24 August 2020:

  • Grade R; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; and Grade 6;
  • Grade 9; Grade 10; and Grade 11;
  • Schools of skill: Year 1; Year 2; and Year 3;
  • Schools with Learners with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (LSPID): Year 1; Year 2; and Year 3;
  • Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities (“SID”): Grade R; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; and final year ;
  • Schools with autistic learners: Junior group (below 13 years); Senior Group (13 years and above); and final year;
  • The schools must ensure compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements in accommodating this group of learners.

Week 6 (31 August 2020)

Learners in the following grades or schools will return to school on 31 August 2020:

  • Grade 5 and Grade 8;
  • Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities (SID): Grade 4 and Grade 5

Students not returning to school 

The directive also provides for students that will not be returning to school during this period.

It states that a parent, caregiver or a designated family member may choose not to send a learner to school for reasons that may include:

  • Any medical condition of the learner, including comorbidities;
  • Anxiety and fear related to Covid-19, concern for family members that are over the age of 60 or concern for family members with comorbidities;
  • A preference for the learner receiving learning and teaching instruction through the online or virtual platforms provided by an independent institution which is not related to the school that the child is registered at;
  • A preference for the learner receiving learning and teaching instruction through the online or virtual platforms provided by the school;
  • An application for home education and deregistration of a learner from the school.

In these cases, a parent or caregiver are required to fill out an application form and send it to the Head of Department.

The required form, as well as the application process, are outlined in more detail in the gazette below.


Updated calendar 

While it does not form part of the official directive, the Department of Basic Education has also published the new calendar for the rest of the 2020 school year, which has been structured so that the academic year won’t push into 2021.

In terms of the new calendar, there are now 163 actual school days for teachers, and 156 for learners.

The department said that the school year will complete on 15 December 2020 for grades R to 11, and will not be carried over into 2021.

A break will be required to separate the third and fourth terms, so a small holiday will take place between 26 and 30 October.

These are the remaining terms:

  • Term 3: 24 August – 23 October
  • Term 4: 2 November – 15 December

Matric exams will also be concluded by 15 December, the department said, with marking expected to be done by 22 January 2021, and the results released on 23 February 2021.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].