Full-time daily schooling for all learners to resume Monday – Angie Motshekga
On Sunday the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, briefed the media on the readiness of schools to prepare for daily attendance. Motshekga said rotational schooling had been stopped with immediate effect.
As of Monday 7 February 2022, all pupils from primary, secondary, and special schools will return to normal school hours.
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, on Sunday said the resumption of full-time daily attendance comes after deliberations with Cabinet, the education sector, civil society and after thorough considerations of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact rotational learning has had on teachers, non-teaching school staff and on learners’ education and well-being.
“On the 31st of January this year the Cabinet decided to end rotational schooling with immediate effect. School closures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the rotational learning, have had a significant negative impact on pupils’ education, protection, and nutrition. Hence, as a sector we have welcomed the Cabinet’s decision and a directive is hereby issued for all schools to resume full-time attendance on Monday, 7 February 2022,” said Motshekga.
“In all the engagements, we have had overwhelming support for the full-time return of pupils to schools. This means we will be able to apply the educational timetable that we haven’t really applied since 2020. This will further assist the nation in the recovery plan and rebooting the education sector, which has been greatly affected by the pandemic.”
In preparation, adjustments have been made to the school calendar, school assessment programmes and curricula. The government has gazetted a list of directions regarding the full-time return of learners to schools and measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19.
It has recommended the following measures:
- Maintaining a distance of one metre from the next person;
- All pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff and visitors must wear non-surgical face masks at all times;
- Pupils must be allowed five- to 15-minute mask breaks in an outdoor area every two hours;
- The placing of 70% alcohol-based hand sanitisers in each classroom, in halls, at entrances and exits, and near lunchrooms;
- Maintaining good ventilation by opening doors, windows and/or using fans for air circulation; and
- School buildings and equipment must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly by following the environmental health cleaning and disinfection protocols.
Motshekga warned members of the public not to randomly visit schools. “Following the violent incidents that have happened in schools as of January, anyone who wishes to visit any school… should seek permission from the department of education and the school governing body.”
She said that spectators are allowed at schools’ extracurricular activities and sports, subject to compliance with Covid-19 hygiene and safety measures.
“As a sector, we remain mindful of the fact that Covid-19 is still with us and that all of us have a direct responsibility to ensure that we prevent the spread of this virus and its variants.
“Medical science has informed the decision that has been taken and as a sector we continue to seek their advice and guidance. We humbly ask parents to take their children for vaccination or use the opportunity of vaccinating their children in schools when the opportunity to do so arises. Vaccination is currently the only way to protect schools against Covid-19, enabling schools to continue with the traditional daily attendance schedule,” said Motshekga.
“There are still some issues that were raised by the different stakeholders on resuming school full-time, in particular with the school infrastructure and the feasibility of accommodating all pupils under the current circumstances. There is also a question of overcrowding, which was a problem way before Covid-19.
“We have made sure with our social partners that we are presently in talks with the National Treasury to resolve these matters, taking into consideration that these challenges came before Covid-19.
“At the right time, we will provide feedback from the discussions that we are involved in.” DM/MC
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