While all schools are expected to reopen on the 26th of July, primary school have been instructed to use that week to prepare themselves as they return to the traditional daily school attendance model. ` This is according to the Department of Basic Education’s latest schools reopening calendar amendments published in the Government Gazette on Thursday.
The amendments follow the delay in the reopening of schools which was initially scheduled for Monday, the 19th of July. The level four lockdown adjustment was extended by President Cyril Ramaphosa following a spike in Covid-19 infections in the country. Schools had closed a week earlier for the winter school holidays.
Education Minister Angie Motshekga said: “Schools will reopen on July 26, 2021, for all learners (Grade R to 12) to return to the daily or weekly rotational timetable model.”
She ordered that principals, school management teams and non-teaching staff would return to school on the 22nd of July, to prepare for the return of the learners. Motshekga said Independent schools were to remain closed for contact learning classes until the 26th of July. She ordered that educators, school management as well as learners should use the week of the 26th to prepare for primary school daily attendance which would commence on the 2nd of August.
“Educators must continue with teaching and learning from July 26, in accordance with the timetabling model adopted by the school, until August 2, from which date the return to the traditional and daily attendance timetabling model must be implemented,” the gazette stipulated.
Daily attendance would be implemented provided that the risk adjustment strategy was made. Schools with children with special needs from Grade R to 12 would also be required to implement the daily attendance model as of the 2nd of August.
University of KwaZulu Natal’s education expert, Professor Labby Ramrathan said the reopening of schools amid the third wave might not be a wise decision and that one could not make a blanket decision about opening schools.
“Partial opening may be possible, and crucial transition classes may be allowed into schools. A clear balance is needed in terms of the need to continue with schooling and the health of the learners and educators,” he said.
Ramrathan urged parents to use the extended holiday time by encouraging learners to continue revision work at home.
“Even if school is closed, parents should still allow learning to take place at home, so that the learner does not lose out. It is too early for parents to contemplate whether or not their child should ‘miss this academic year’ as the curriculum appears to be on track,” he said.