Schools Could Fall Behind Due To Delayed Reopening Dates

With the department having released the new school calendar and reopening dates, they are now concerned that these delays will set schools back. Learners are set to be back at schools in less than a week.

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Schools will reopen on 26 July, a week after it was originally supposed to.

The Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, said, "it affects learning in a big way because we have lost a week and when we look at our calendar, it looks like we will not be able to recover that five days that we've lost as a result of the announcement from the President and the changes that have had to happen as a result of that announcement".

After the President went and made that announcement, we needed to go back and process that announcement and to also consider changing the school calendar and it looks like we are losing some days but that's the nature of a pandemic. Nothing is certain. You work in a very difficult situation.

The department will now have to make do with the days it does have, said Mhlanga, and that they will inform the system accordingly.

The possibility still remains that learners will go back to schools on a full-time basis without a rotational timetable. 

Last week, the Department of Basic Education gazetted new plans for schools. 

Primary schools will use a rotational timetable for the week of 26 July and from 2 August, they will then see a full capacity return to schools. The rotational timetable will however remain at high schools.

Special education needs learners in Grade R to 12 will also follow the daily full-time attendance timetable from 2 August.

Principals, school management teams and non-teaching staff will head back to schools on 22 July to prepare for the return of learners on the 26th. They will then also need to use the week of the 26th to prepare for the full-time return of primary school learners.

Independent schools will be closed for contact classes until 26 July.

Mhlanga said that perhaps this has to be done in phases to get education back on track. The department will continue to monitor the rate of infections in the country while making decisions.

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