The Department of Basic Education finally published regulations in the Government Gazette on Monday, which provide more clarity on when and under what circumstances learners may return to school.
Schools were closed again for four weeks, after education unions maintained that teachers and learners at the school were exposed to the new coronavirus.
Gr. 12 learners had already returned to school on Monday. Gr. 7 learners can return on 11 August and gr. 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 6-, 9-, 10- and 11-learners on 24 August. Schools for learners with physical and learning disabilities may also reopen. Learners in gr. 5 and gr. 8 may only return to school a week later, on 31 August.
However, the new regulations provide that schools that can prove that it is safe for learners to return to school before these dates may do so.
Schools must still comply with the given health and safety measures as previously determined and school management teams must ensure that these measures are taken the week before learners’ return. If schools have a shortage of masks (each learner and teacher must have two), the principal of the school must make a request to the relevant education district office.
According to the regulations, parents may also choose not to send learners back to school, for fear that their children may contract Covid-19. However, such a parent must apply to the provincial department of education through the school. Parents may also choose to remove children permanently from the school concerned and to teach at home, provided that they can prove that they are formally registered with an institution that provides home teaching. Parents who remove learners from school must re-apply formally if learners wish to return to school.