The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has provided an update on new dates for the re-opening of South African schools at the start of the 2021 school year.
Doctor Reginah Mhaule, Deputy Minister for the Department of Basic Education, provided this information for three important dates when it comes to the re-opening.
“For public schools and private schools which follow the same calendar, changes are as follows:
– School Management Teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021;
– Teachers shall follow on Mon, 01 Feb;
– Lastly, learners return on Mon, 15 Feb”
It’s worth noting here that, at the end of 2020, the DBE put forth a proposed school calendar system which saw students returning as early as 12th January in certain provinces. Much has changed since 17th December 2020 when that calendar was proposed, with the most important being a massive second wave of infections of COVID-19 sweeping through South Africa. While these dates were changed and saw staff and students returning to schools later, it was still seen as not enough.
For example today, on 15th January, 18 503 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country. This number represents the second day in a row that new infections have surpassed the 18 000 mark. Because of factors like this parents, teachers and others in the school system have been reluctant to send kids back to school.
With these new dates in place eyes again fall on the marking of the Matric exams, something the DBE also addresses:
“Some of our markers have passed away; while others withdrew from marking, due to fear and anxiety; but also because for some of them, their own family members have tested positive. In the majority of cases. the educators indicated They had attended funerals or ceremonies, attended by big groups of people; resulting in gatherings that were not monitored for compliance with health protocols, which includes the wearing of masks. social distancing, and regular sanitising. of hands,” Mhaule states.
Once again all those outside of the DBE involved in the education of South Africa’s youth will need to wait for the planned dates to come.