The Department of Basic Education has gazetted regulations surrounding schools operating during Covid-19, including dates for the phased return of pupils, as well as guidelines for parents who will not be sending their children back.
Dates for phased reopening
According to new regulations, released on Tuesday:
Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 will be able to return to school from 6 July.
- Schools catering for pupils with severe intellectual disabilities (SID) will also be able to welcome Grades 1, 2, 3 and final-year pupils from this date.
- Schools with pupils with severe and profound intellectual disabilities (LSPID) will allow years 1-3 to return.
- Autistic pupils below the age of 13, as well as final-year students who are 18 and above will also return on 6 July.
On 3 August 2020, Grades 4, 5, 8 and 9 will be able to return.
- As well as first-year pupils in schools of skill, Grade 4s and 5s in SIDs and pupils above the age of 13 in schools catering for autistic learners.
Hostels are also allowed to open if they comply with minimum health, safety and social distancing requirements, and the department is notified.
The department will also be able to conduct an inspection once the hostel opens to verify this compliance.
Aftercare facilities are also allowed to reopen if they are compliant, however, school events like sport and cultural activities remain suspended.
Deviation from phased return
- The regulations allow for schools to deviate from this phased return with regard to specific grades or dates if the school is compliant with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measurements and, in the case of a public school, has all Covid-19 essentials in place, and the principal has notified the department.
- Should the school not be compliant with the Covid-19 measures, the deviation from the phased return can be revoked and the school closed until it becomes compliant.
- Parents of pupils who will not return to school after the phased return will need to apply to the head of the Department of Basic Education, which can then exempt a child entirely, partially or conditionally from attending school if it is in their best interest.
- According to the regulations, this is dependent on whether the parent has made an effort to ensure the child continues their schooling from home through learning materials supplied by the school
- The parent will also have to comply with legal requirements concerning home education.
The link to the Gazette: