School sports now allowed within Covid-19 safety protocols
Johannesburg - After months of all work and no play school pupils will now be allowed to take part in extra-curricular activities including non-contact sports.
Extra-curricular activities like sports and drama in schools were stopped as a way to curb the spread of Covid-19. This week Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga published a gazette allowing students to participate in the activities, within certain rules.
The only activities allowed are non-contact sports such as athletics, swimming and tennis. Arts and culture activities like oral history, spelling bee, moot court, speech contests, debates and school clubs are also allowed.
All activities are to resume without spectators, even though schools are allowed to travel to competitions across provinces.
According to the updated regulations, for inter-school sports activities there should be no more than 250 people if it is an indoor activity and no more than 500 people if the event is held outdoors.
The regulations further state: “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.”
Teacher union Naptosa spokesperson Basil Manuel said while they are happy the extracurricular activities are back, there might not be time to engage in them because of the exam season. Schools close today and will open on November 2.
“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.
He said it was important to ensure that schools returned to as much normality as possible while at the same time adhering to Covid-19 safety precautions.
“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,” Basil said.
The Western Cape has been seeing an increase in their Covid-19 numbers. Over 89 cases of the virus have been linked to an event at a bar where high school learners were in attendance. About 38 of them have been forced to defer their exams to next year after contracting the virus.
The University of Fort Hare recently recorded over 125 confirmed cases following a student party held in a pub in East London.
The regulations state that learners and their teachers and coaches are also required to wear face masks when in the sporting venues, except when participating in training or matches.
Hand sanitisers and hand-washing facilities should also be available at all venues. And, where feasible, windows and doors are to remain open at all times.
No sharing of water bottles, energy drinks or other drinks is allowed.
Motshekga also stipulated that for contact sports, training may resume only if the schools adhere to “social distancing, hygiene and safety measures are observed and that there is no physical contact between participants during training”.
She also said that schools must ensure that all sporting venues, tools and equipment are cleaned and sanitised before and after any practice session.