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Back To School Regulations Released For Level 3

Author: 
Government Gazette

The Department of Basic Education have published a Government Gazette which formalises the rules for the return to school of learners under the national lockdown. It specifies what dates the different grades can return as well as the social distancing practices that must be put in place.

The Department of Basic Education have published a Government Gazette which formalises the rules for the return to school of learners under the national lockdown. It specifies what dates the different grades can return as well as the social distancing practices that must be put in place.

In a controversial ruling the regulations state that someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 has to test negative before they can return to a school. This is not consistent with government advice as those who have no symptoms are considered not to be contagious any longer after 14 days self isolation.  Those who have had the disease are also not contagious once they have recovered.

Also with a current backlog of nearly 100 000 tests in the system it will add to the stress on the testing system if the Education Department adds the additional burden of testing recovered Covid-19 patients.

The health and safety guidelines for the reopening of schools state that teachers and learners must have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing of 1.5 metres must be adhered to and screening must take place at schools.

In the regulations published on 29 May 2020, the department outlines that grades R, 3, 6, 10, 11 and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres will return to the school grounds on 6 July 2020. Learners in year 2 and 3 of schools of skills will also return on 6 July 2020.

Also returning on 6 July are schools for learners with severe intellectual disabilities, starting with Grades R, 1, 2, 3 and 6.

Special care centres for learners with severe and profound intellectual disabilities will also return on 6 July, with learners in year 1 - 3.

From 3 August 2020, grades 4, 5, 8 and 9. Schools of skills will also welcome back learners in year 1 on 3 August.

Grades 4 and 5 at schools for learners with severe intellectual disabilities will also make a return on 3 August 2020.

While the department has mapped out the dates of return, it emphasised that this will only take place if schools have complied with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures on COVID-19.

“A school or office that has failed to comply with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures on COVID-19, as contemplated in these directions and regulations, will remain closed until all the health, safety and social distancing measures are in place,” the regulations state.

According to the directions in the gazetted regulations, parents who choose not to send a learner to school, must apply to the Head of Department, who may exempt a learner either entirely, partially or conditionally, from compulsory school attendance, if it is in the best interests of the learner.

A parent who chooses not to send their child to school is also obliged to apply for home education.

All events at schools, including sport, choral eisteddfods or choir rehearsals, arts and culture festivals remain suspended.

Officials, teachers and learners, who commute between provinces, metropolitans and districts for school, will be allowed to move, provided they have the relevant permit.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL REGULATIONS

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