Schools are expected to open on time and operate under the usual Covid-19 protocols, said Department of Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.
DESPITE the escalation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Level 1 to Level 3, from midnight of December 27 to January 15, Department of Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said there would be no changes to the school calendar.
According to the amended school calendar, schools open on January 27.
Mhlanga, when asked on Twitter whether there would be any delays in the start of the school year, said: “Schools must open to protect people. In schools, the wearing of masks is not negotiable. Social distancing is monitored and sanitising is checked all the time.”
In the same Twitter thread, the DBE spokesperson raised his concern about the number of teachers lost due to Covid-19. He said about 200 teachers have died since schools closed.
“I am still thinking about the families of the 200 or so teachers who passed away since the schools closed on December 15. The infection rate is accelerating at an alarming speed. Let’s hope Level 3 will help us to think more about safety and the need to adhere to protocols.
“I have stats from five provinces only. The number is much higher I believe. The key message is compliance with safety measures,” he wrote.
When pupils returned to school last year, amid the pandemic, a number of protocols were implemented.
This included making the wearing of masks mandatory and having sanitisers and other PPE. Learners also had their temperatures checked on arrival at school and schools divided classes into different cohorts. The cohort grouping meant that learners would be at school five times in a two-week cycle.
Meanwhile, on Monday the marking of the National Senior Certificate examinations commenced.
The DBE said Covid-19 safety protocols would be followed and results would be released on February 23.
Universities have given no indication of any delays to their academic calendar.