Schools to reopen July 19, as Level 4 pushes winter holidays forward
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Johannesburg - Private and public schools will close on Wednesday, with July 19 marked as the new return date for learners, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says.
On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move to level 4 of the risk-adjusted lockdown from Monday.
The harsher regulations come as a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the country.
Level 4 means the winter school holidays, which were scheduled in a week, will be brought forward to Wednesday, June 30.
This applies to public, private and independent schools.
The minister said teaching would end on Wednesday, June 30, teachers and management would wrap up on Thursday and Friday, and by Friday all schools would be closed.
Motshekga confirmed that the gazetted guidelines were that schools reopen on July 19.
The minister said school nutrition should continue for the next three days for children who depended on the programme.
The only school-related activities that would be allowed were winter learning programmes organised by provinces for Grade 11 and 12 learners.
Motshekga said strict Covid-19 protocols should be followed.
Learners who would be writing supplementary examines would be allowed to finish them and the marking of those exams would also continue, the minister said.
Motshekga said the sector was sticking to its planned schedule and the reopening of schools by July 19.
She said she was cognisant of the pandemic changing and if there was a need to change the schedule, decisions would be made.
"We agree that we have to monitor the virus and get advice from the Health Department. Up to now, we do not have evidence that there will be problems. We will not be irresponsible and we will take the decision close to and continue to plan. We will see if the plan will encounter problems," the minister said.
Motshekga said vaccination of the education sector, was on track to be completed by next week Wednesday.
The department aims to vaccinate 582 000 education sector workers. So far, more than 200 000 people have been vaccinated, most of them in KwaZulu-Natal where more than 60 000 of its education sector workers have received the jab.
Motshekga said vaccinations would continue while schools were closed.
She said the Department of Health has promised more vaccine doses to avert a possible halting of the programme.