After months of lockdown and no sports or extra-curricular activities, non-contact sports and extra-curricular activities are once again allowed. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga published a gazette allowing students to participate in limited activities, within certain restrictions.
Activities allowed are non-contact sports such as swimming. athletics and tennis. Arts and culture activities like oral history, spelling bee, moot court, speech contests, debates and school clubs are also permitted to recommence. All activities are only permitted to resume without spectators but schools may travel to competitions in other provinces.
Updated regulations state that inter-school indoor activities are limited to 250 people, while outdoor activities may not exceed 500. “The number of persons in the sporting venues, change rooms or training area at any given time must not be more than 50% of the capacity of the venue with persons observing the social distancing requirements.”
The news is not necessarily good news for schools. School closes today and reopens on the 2nd of November and closes for the festive holidays on 15 December. This leaves schools with less than two months to prepare for and complete examinations. Most schools will go straight into exams on the 2nd of November and many others will spend a week or two for revision before commencing with exams.
Naptosa Teacher’s Union spokesperson Basil Manuel, said while they are happy the extracurricular activities have resumed there might not be time to engage in it. “They are always an important extra in schools but currently, there is little sport happening. When schools open it will be exam mode. That might be different for schools that place more emphasis on sports, like the boys schools, and they will tell you that youngsters will use the excess energy,” Manuel said.
“We have to normalise things eventually. We have to come back to the centre. We have cautioned our members to be safe and follow all precautions, especially with what is happening in the Western Cape and the University of Fort Hare. Otherwise a group of people coming together can be a problem,” Manuel explained.
Motshekga stipulated that for contact sports to resume, schools would have to adhere to “social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are observed and that there is no physical contact between participants during training”. She added that schools were responsible for cleaning and sanitising sporting venues, tools and equipment before and after each practise session.