Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, confirming that the country would be moving to alert level 4 lockdown. As part of the adjusted regulations for this level, the president explained that all schools in South Africa would be closing during the 14 day period that has been outlined for the changed lockdown.
To that end, he explained that schools are to begin closing from Wednesday 30th June, with all schools in the country expected to be closed by the week’s end on 2nd July.
President #Ramaphosa: All public and private #schools will close early for the winter break. Schools will start to close from Wednesday, 30 June.#StaySafe #CoronaVirusSA #Ramaphosa #Level4 #14Days pic.twitter.com/MgzL6fvud1
— Presidency | South Africa
(@PresidencyZA) June 27, 2021
There are, however, a couple of exceptions.
To that end contact classes at tertiary institutions will end by Wednesday, with limited access to the institutions. Residences at said institutions will remain open. Part of the reason for this is that non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng has been prohibited during this 14 day period.
For some reason though, early childhood development centres (children nine years old or younger) will remain open, according to gazetted regulations outlined by government as of 27th June (PDF).
While the measures are necessary given the growing concerns around the delta variant of the virus which has been identified in South Africa, what impact this latest disruption will have on the education system remains to be seen. Hopefully though, this break can be used effectively, with teachers getting vaccinated during the coming days.
Either way, it is yet another blow to learners and their families in the country who have no doubt suffered over the past 18 months.
We should hear further details on how the closing of schools will be facilitated this week from the Departments of Basic and Higher Education within the next 48 hours.
Should the situation not improve over the next two weeks with regard to the infection rate, it remains to be seen whether a continued level 4 lockdown or even harder restrictions will be put in place, which will no doubt further disrupt the 2021 curriculum.