It’ll be a month after grade 12 and 7 pupils go back to school that their mates can start to join them in the classroom.
This is according to return-to-school dates gazetted on Friday.
The document states that early childhood development centres and grade R, 3, 6, 10 and 11 pupils can go back on July 6. They will be joined by “school of skills” pupils in years 2 and 3.
Grade R, 1, 2, 3 and 6 pupils at schools for pupils with severe intellectual disabilities (SID schools) will join them on July 6 — as will special care centres for pupils with severe and profound intellectual difficulties (LSPID schools) in years 1, 2 and 3.
On August 3, a further month after the initial back-to-school dates, grade 4, 5, 8, 9, “school of skills” year 1 and the remaining SID and LSPID school pupils will go back.
Grades 1 and 2 at ordinary schools are missing from the published table of return dates. Attempts to contact the basic education department to clarify this were unsuccessful on Friday evening.
“Only those schools and offices that have complied with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measure on Covid-19 … will be allowed to open.
“A school or office that has failed to comply with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures on Covid-19 … will remain closed until all the measures are in place,” the regulations state.
The document, dated Friday May 29, states that parents do not have to send their children back to the classrooms.
“A parent who chooses not to send a learner to school must apply to the head of department, who, in terms of section 4 of the South African Schools Act, may exempt a learner entirely, partially or conditionally from compulsory school attendance, if it is in the best interests of the learner.
“A parent who chooses not to send a learner to school is obliged to apply for home education in terms of the relevant section of the South African Schools Act.”
The regulations state that parents or guardians must not send pupils to school “if the learners have any of the symptoms of Covid-19”.
On top of a safety plan for each school or education office, the regulations state that “symptom screening” must be conducted at offices or schools.
“Any person who enters an office or school must be screened, to ascertain whether they have any of the observable symptoms associated with Covid-19, namely fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
“Any person who suffers from [these] symptoms, or who experiences additional symptoms of body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness, while at the office or school, must immediately report such symptoms to the compliance officer or designated official,” the regulations state.
Should anyone present with these symptoms, they must not be allowed on to the premises. If, however, they are already on the premises, they must “immediately isolate” and plans must be in place to move them in a way where other people aren’t at risk.
“If any person has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and isolated in accordance with the department of health guidelines, an office or a school may only allow the return of such person to the office or school on condition that he or she has undergone a medical evaluation confirming that he or she has tested negative for Covid-19,” the regulations state.