Hundreds of schools nationwide have already applied to deviate from the proposed phasing-in program for schools, and to allow other grades to return to school earlier – some as early as Monday.
Gauteng Education Department spokesman Steve Mabona said 330 schools in this province had already applied to phase in other grades earlier, of which 270 had been approved.
Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department, says 161 independent schools and 121 public schools have applied to deviate from the proposed phasing-in. She could not say how many of the applications were approved.
Schools opened for gr. 12 and gr. 7 pupils reopened. According to the Government Gazette , pupils in Gr. 1 to 3, gr. 6, Art. 10 and gr. July 11 and pupils in Gr. 4, Art. 5, Art. 8 and gr. 9 on August 3rd return.
However, the regulations allow schools to deviate from these dates if they comply with the Covid-19 measures and have been approved as a formal application to depart from the head of the provincial education department.
According to the sub-regulations, a healthy distance of 1.5 m between pupils and teachers must be maintained and only 50% of pupils of the school may attend school one day. For example, schools can rotate grades daily or weekly. Schools with facilities large enough to follow the normal school timetable may be exempt from this sub-regulation.
According to the South African Teachers Union, it is aimed at schools that have a small number of pupils. These applications must also be approved.
Limpopo and North West
In Limpopo, many schools have applied for pupils of other grades to return to schools earlier, reports Marietie Louw-Carstens .
Tidimalo Chuene, spokesperson for the education department in the province, says it is mainly independent and private schools that have provided motivations to the head of the education department. She could not say exactly how many schools applied.
Northwest Education Department spokeswoman Elias Malindi says as far as he knows, the department has not yet received applications from any school in the province, reports Susan Cilliers .
“All our public schools will still receive letters from the provincial department on the dates of phasing in. So far, all the schools still adhere to the prescribed plan. As far as we are concerned, all the public schools in the province must follow the same phasing-in program.
“Private schools would be able to phase in other grades earlier if they wanted to, but then they would still have to apply to the department and provide proof that they had taken the necessary precautions to be able to do so safely.”
Spokespeople for education departments in the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal did not respond to inquiries. The Mpumalanga department was unable to confirm the number of schools by Wednesday evening.