The cabinet determined on January 31, 2022, to make adjustments to the modified Alert Level 1 with immediate effect, and the amendments were implemented. According to the media release Department of Education South Africa regarding the return of schools, primary, secondary, and special schools are permitted to resume full daily attendance as a result of the judgement.
The regulation provision for one metre of social distance for learners in schools has also been deleted from the statute book.
Since the decision was made, numerous questions have been voiced about the status of the school’s infrastructure and whether or not it will be possible to accommodate all of the students under the current circumstances.
The issue of late delivery of stationery and textbooks, in especially in the Eastern Cape, was brought to the attention of the committee. Overcrowding was also raised as a worry, and it was highlighted as one that required immediate action.
However, there was overwhelming support for the complete restoration of learners to their regular daily attendance schedule, as well. As stated in the media release Department of Education South Africa, this implies that the rotating time-tabling system, which the government has been using since June 2020, has finally come to a conclusion.
According to the cabinet resolution, a gazette was published on Sunday, February 6, 2022, which formally heralded the start of the new environmental regime. In short, full-time attendance has been agreed to start on Monday, February 7, 2022, according to the latest school calendar.
Please keep in mind, however, that COVID-19 is still a part of our lives. We are all directly responsible for ensuring that this virus and its variations are not propagated. As a result, the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) met to discuss the readiness of learners for full return. According to the Media Release Department of Education South Africa, the government was said to be confident that schools are ready for the new normal.
As a result, all South African provinces are preparing for the restoration of all schools to daily attendance in the following areas:
- Communicating parents about the return to schools;
- Adjustment of the school timetables, duty-loads, and assessment programmes;
- Safety from COVID-19 infections;
- Non-pharmaceutical preventions;
- Accelerated delivery of infrastructure, water, and sanitation;
- Continuation of learner transportation and school nutrition;
- Intensified monitoring and evaluation oversight; and
- Curriculum recovery plans.
The following is the summary of the media release Department of Education South Africa about the return of schools that parents and general public ought to know:
Strengthening the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions
COVID-19’s Ministerial Advisory Committee says that non-pharmaceutical therapies operate together as a whole to treat COVID-19. These steps must not only be implemented, but they must be bolstered to the maximum.
When it comes to adequate ventilation in buildings, schools and offices should pay attention. All classroom, office, and student transportation doors and windows should be opened so that fresh air may circulate freely. As much as feasible, outdoor activities are kept as safe as possible. It is also critical that we keep up with the recommended mask usage and hand cleanliness.
Curriculum Recovery Plans
Devastating losses have been accumulated during the previous two years. To address the crisis, the media release Department of Education South Africa note down the following solutions:
- Our communities’ health and well-being must be protected at all times, and measures must be put in place to make up for the time and learning that was lost due to the COVID-19 epidemic; and
- Introducing measures to catch-up on the time as well as the teaching and learning that was lost through the COVID-19 pandemic.
To avoid any more delays or interruptions, all parents are asked to support these efforts.
Booster Vaccines for Educators, Support Staff, and Officials
In order to combat COVID-19, one strategy is to vaccinate as many South Africans as possible. This new normal can and will be sustained. The country’s relative stability in the second half of 2021 can be attributed in part to the immunisation campaign. School closures due to COVID-19 infections have been minimal. As a result, case management has improved.
Booster vaccinations can help protect against SARS-CoV-2 infections caused by distinct SARS-CoV-2 subtypes. A wide range of healthcare establishments, pharmacies, and immunisation centres carry them.
On the Recommendations of the Seventh Basic Education Sector Lekgotla
Five commissions were formed to hone down on the most important areas of concentration. The subjects of these commissions are:
- Curriculum and assessment;
- Teacher preparation, professionalism, and well-being;
- ICT, digitalization, e-education management, distance learning, and online schools;
- Care and support for teaching and learning; and
- Foundations for learning.
Vaccination of Learners
Schools are expected to work together to make sure that all vaccine-eligible students, the majority of whom are still in elementary school, receive their shots. As a result of the use of COVID-19 vaccinations, South Africa has seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections.
Additionally, those over the age of 18 who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are entitled to obtain a booster dose of the same vaccination six months or 180 days later, whichever comes first.
When it comes to booster dosages and qualifying requirements, the Department of Basic Education will follow the lead of the Department of Health.
The National School Nutrition Program will continue to deliver healthy meals to students when they return to full attendance, according to a media release Department of Education South Africa. By lowering hunger and increasing school attendance, it is an important initiative to increase the ability of children to learn.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, the programme continues to reach over 9 million students in around 21,000 schools, focusing on the most vulnerable students across the country.
School Sport and Enrichment Programmes
Sports and other extracurricular activities will be allowed to resume on October 22, 2021, as long as all COVID-19 safety procedures are followed. Sports and extracurricular activities are being emphasised in all schools. However, hygiene and safety rules must still be followed. Other indoor activities, such as choir practises, must take place in well-ventilated areas.
Second Chance Matric Support Programme
The Second Chance Matric Support Program is still accepting for applications. For individuals who were unable to take the tests for various reasons, this is a chance to retake them. In order to participate, you must register before the 15th of February 2022. This year’s rewrite tests will be held in May and June.