South African Government

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Education - Coronavirus COVID-19

Schools
Universities and further education institutions

 

Schools

For the updated calendar go to School calendar.

Regulations

The following is an extraction from the published Gazette 45877 of 6 February 2022. (All previous directions are withdrawn)

4. Entry to school premises 

(1) No person, other than a learner or official, may enter a school premises or hostel, unless such person obtains the permission of, and makes arrangements with, the principal or Head of Department in advance before entering the school premises or hostel.

(2) Sub-direction (1) does not preclude any state institution supporting constitutional democracy from executing their mandate.

(3) Despite sub-direction (1), the principal of a school who convenes or hosts an event or activity, as contemplated in direction 8, may allow entry of permitted persons for that event or activity at the school: Provided that compliance with hygiene and safety measures on COVID-19, as contemplated in direction 9; 10 and 11 are complied with.

5. Return of all learners to daily attendance and traditional time tabling model

(1) A risk adjusted differentiated strategy means an approach to school attendance that is determined by the level of reported COVID-19 infections in the school, and COVID-19 infections in the district, municipality, province and country.

(2) Primary, secondary and schools for learners with special education needs including hostels must return to the traditional and daily attendance timetabling model with no social distancing from 7 February 2022: Provided that the risk adjusted differentiated strategy, as contemplated in sub-direction (1), is implemented, and the health and safety measures on COVID-19, as contemplated in these directions, the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the Regulations, are adhered to.

(3) Primary, secondary and schools for learners with special education needs including hostels must ensure strict compliance with health protocols, which include, but not limited to, the wearing of face masks or face shield for learners with special education needs for ensuring maximum ventilation, the washing of hands and the use of hand sanitizers, and must comply with safety measures on COVID-19, as contemplated in these directions, and the Regulations.

(4) Aftercare facilities that are managed by or operating at a school, and in education support centres, may reopen: Provided that they comply with the health, and safety measures and requirements on COVID-19, referred to in the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the DBE Guidelines.

(5) Where a person is a confirmed laboratory positive COVID-19 case and has no symptoms, he or she is not required to isolate.

(6) Where a person is a confirmed laboratory positive COVID-19 case and has symptoms, he or she must isolate for 7 days unless a longer period has been recommended by a medical practitioner.

(7) Where a learner tests positive and displays symptoms of COVID-19—
(a) the parent, caregiver or a designated family member must inform the school as soon as possible of the learner’s condition; and
(b) the school must inform the Head of Department of the incident through the district office.

(8) Where a learner displays symptoms of COVID-19 at school, the school must as soon as possible—
(a) inform the parent, caregiver or a designated family member of the learner’s condition and—
(i) request them to fetch the learner from school;
(ii) advise them to refer the learner to a medical practitioner; and
(iii) advise them that if the learner tests positive with symptoms to keep the learner isolated at home.

(9) The Head of Department, or a person duly authorised by him or her, must continuously monitor and evaluate the maintenance of hygiene and safety standards for the duration of the national state of disaster and must report, in writing, every quarter, to the Department of Basic Education on any failure to meet the required health, and safety measures as well as compliance with COVID-19 essentials in the case of a public school.

(10) All windows and doors must remain open to ensure adequate ventilation.

(11) Overcrowding must be avoided by putting measures in place to provide adequate spaces for teaching and learning.

(12) The Head of Department must provide all reasonable support to enable schools to safely return to a daily attendance and the traditional timetabling model.

(13) Scholar transport must comply with the directions issued by the Department of Transport.

6. Learners with special educational needs

(1) Officials must be provided by the Provincial Department of Education with appropriate personal protective equipment, including protective clothing, where such provision is necessary.

(2) Officials appointed to carry out symptom screening, in schools for deaf learners, must be able to communicate using South African Sign Language. Where this is not possible, a sign language interpreter must be available to ensure proper communication with the learners.

(3) Written communication for blind learners, as well as those who are Deaf-blind, must be through Braille.

(4) The Provincial Department of Education must, at a minimum, provide the following personal protective equipment to learners with visual and hearing impairments:
(a) Face shields, in the case of blind learners;
(b) cloth face masks, in the case of low vision learners, teachers and support staff; and
(c) face shields, in the case of teachers, support staff and learners in schools for the deaf.

7. School hostels

(1) A school hostel must comply with the -
(a) health, and safety measures and requirements on COVID-19, referred to in DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the DBE Guidelines and, in the case of a  public school also has all the COVID-19 essentials in place; and
(b) ensuring that there is adequate ventilation. proper use of masks, good health and hygiene practices including the availability of adequate and safe soap and water resources or sanitisers.

8. Sport and extracurricular activities

(1) Subject to sub-directions (2), (4) and (5), and in compliance with hygiene and safety measures on COVID-19, as contemplated in these directions, the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the Regulations, the following activities may resume with spectators:
(a) Contact sport, non-contact sport, including training, intra-school and interschool matches, and all arts and culture intra-school and inter-school activities;
(b) co-curricular and enrichment programmes, such as oral history, spelling bee, moot court, speech contests, debates and school clubs, may resume activities including competitive inter-school events and engagements; and
(c) choir practice or rehearsals and choir competitions.

(2) The following health and safety measures must be adhered to when resuming events or activities contemplated in this direction:
(a) Face masks must be worn by all persons entering the venues where the activities take place, change rooms or training areas, except when participating in training or matches accompanied by vigorous exercise;
(b) there must be sufficient quantities of hand sanitizers, with at least 70% alcohol content, available for use by all officials, coaches, assistants, learners and participants;
(c) there must be facilities for washing of hands with soap and water;
(d) all windows and doors must remain open to ensure adequate ventilation;
(e) the sharing of drinks and drink containers is not allowed;
(f) a COVID-19 compliance officer must be appointed for each venue;
(g) each of the entry points at the venue must be controlled to ensure that the stipulations with regards to gatherings, as contemplated 2 (p), are complied with;
(h) all participants must undergo health and temperature screening before warmup or an event;
(i) any person who enters the venue must undergo health and temperature screening;
(j) hand sanitisers must be available at the entrance gate and every person who enters the venue must sanitise their hands;
(k) participants and officials must sanitise their hands before and after a match or event;
(l) a person who leaves the venue temporarily and returns, must undergo the process of health and temperature screening, and hand sanitising;
(m) if a person has COVID-19 symptoms or presents with a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, that person must be refused access into the venue;
(n) spectators at the venue of a sport event are permitted and the number of persons permitted at a venue at any one time is limited to the number as prescribed under the Regulations in respect of gatherings for the particular adjusted Alert Level at the time, and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons, observing a distance of at least one and a half meters from each other, then not more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols;
(o) teams, technical officials, volunteers, relevant stadium staff, medical staff and registered members of the media or broadcaster team must leave the venue as soon as their responsibilities are completed;
(p) the wearing of face masks must always be maintained by persons who are not participating in matches or events;
(q) participants must always wear face masks, except when participating in an event that involves vigorous exercise and singing;
(r) technical officials must report before the start of any event or competition for a COVID-19 regulations and protocol briefing session and screening;
(s) all ablution facilities must be sanitised regularly and kept clean as per COVID-19 protocols; and
(t) all sport equipment must be sanitised before and after use.

(3) The principal of a school, or an organiser of a venue, hosting an event or activity contemplated in this direction, who fails to comply with sub-direction (2)(q) and the Regulations, commits an offence and is, on conviction, liable to a fine or imprisonment as contemplated in regulation 69(12) of the Regulations.

(4) Subject to compliance with the Regulations for Safety Measures in Public Schools, as published under Government Notice No. 1040 in Government Gazette No. 22754 of 12 October 2001, any travelling required for participation in any of the events or activities contemplated in this direction may resume and must comply with prescribed transport regulations and directions.

(5) The school or venue hosting the events or activities contemplated in this direction must ensure that venues, tools and equipment are cleaned and sanitized before and after any activities.

(6) In order to ensure compliance with sub-direction (2)(q), schools may prioritise parents, caregivers or designated family members of participating learners to attend an event.

9. General safety measures at schools, hostels and offices for duration of the national state of disaster

(1) The Provincial Department of Education is responsible for the provisioning of personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 essentials for officials and learners in public schools and school hostels.

(2) To ensure the sufficient supply of cloth face masks, in compliance with regulation 34(3)(c) of the Regulations and face shields for learners with special educational needs, the principal of a public school, must request the Provincial Department of Education, in writing, through the district office, to procure cloth face masks and face shields as required by a public school.

(3) All schools and offices must develop a workplace plan containing the following information:
(a) What plans are in place for the employees at the workplace;
(b) what health protocols are in place to protect employees from COVID-19; and
(c) the details of the COVID-19 compliance officer.

(4) A school must send out a notice to all parents informing them that they must not send learners to school if the learners have any of the observable symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes and shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue or weakness.

(5) Every school, school hostel and office must implement the health and safety measures as contained in these directions, the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the DBE Guidelines.

10. Symptom screening

(1) All persons entering any school premises, hostel or office must be screened at the entrance.

(2) Screening must be conducted—
(a) by the persons who have either been identified by the school or by the Head of Department; and
(b) in accordance with the Department of Health Protocols and the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the DBE Guidelines.

(3) All persons who conduct screening must receive the relevant training.

(4) Any person who has any COVID-19 symptoms must immediately report such symptoms to the COVID-19 compliance officer of the school, school hostel or office or any person designated by him or her.

(5) If a person presents with the symptoms referred to in direction 13(6), or informs the COVID-19 compliance officer or designated official of these symptoms, the school, school hostel or office must—
(a) not permit the person to enter the premises; or
(b) if the person is already on the premises of a school, school hostel or office—
(i) immediately isolate the person, and require that person or, in the case of a learner, advise the parent or guardian, to make arrangements to be transported in a manner that does not place any other person or members of the public at risk, either to be self-isolated or to go for a medical examination or testing;
(ii) assess the risk of transmission, disinfect the area and any official’s or learner’s workstation or sleeping quarters, in the case of a school hostel;
(iii) refer those persons who may be at risk for screening; and
(iv) take any other appropriate measure to prevent possible transmission.

(6) If there is evidence that any official contracted COVID-19 as a result of occupational exposure, the school must lodge a claim for compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No. 130 of 1993) in accordance with the Notice on Compensation for Occupationally-acquired Novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), published under Government Notice No. 193, in Government Gazette No. 43126 of 23 March 2020, if applicable.

(7) If any person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are symptomatic and has completed the period of isolation, that person may return to school, a school hostel or office as contemplated in the Department of Health Guidelines.

(8) The Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Health, will regularly review the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and DBE Guidelines to ensure that health and safety measures are consistent with the current and best practices.

11. Sanitizers, disinfectants and masks

(1) For the purposes of these directions, a hand sanitizer as a COVID-19 essential must be one that contains at least 70% alcohol and complies with the recommendations of the Department of Health.

(2) Every school, hostel and office must ensure that there are—
(a) easily accessible, sufficient quantities of hand sanitizers, based on the number of learners, educators or officials or other persons who access the school, school hostel or office, at the entrance of, and in, the workplace or sleeping quarters, which the persons are required to use; and
(b) facilities for washing of hands with soap and clean water.

(3) Every school, school hostel and office must take proper measures to ensure that—
(a) all work surfaces and equipment are cleaned before school or work begins, or after school or work ends;
(b) classrooms, sleeping quarters and water and sanitation facilities are cleaned at least once a day by appointed cleaners; and
(c) surfaces that are touched frequently by many people (railings, light switches, communal taps, braille signage, lunch tables, sports equipment, door and window handles, toys, teaching and learning aids, etc.) are cleaned more frequently.

(4) Every Provincial Department of Education must—
(a) provide each official and learner at public schools, with two cloth face masks or face shields; and
(b) require learners and any other person entering the school premises, hostel or office to wear a cloth face mask, a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth.

12. Learning Recovery

(1) In order to accommodate the teaching time lost as a result of the national state of disaster and the adjustment of timetables, the curriculum, as articulated in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, has been reviewed by the Minister in accordance with section 3(4)(l) of the National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996), which empowers the Minister to determine national policy for curriculum frameworks, core syllabuses and education programmes.

(2) The recovery of Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs) released through Circular S13 of 2021, aimed at supporting the recovery of learning and ensuring authentic deep learning, remain the official teaching plans for all grades (R-12). These are accessible on the website of the Department of Basic Education, through the following link: https://www.education.gov.za/2021ATPs.aspx.

 

Home schooling

Learner Support Programmes

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) together with provinces has prepared online and broadcast support resources comprising subject content and a focus on Grade 12 learners and the promotion of reading for all the grades.

The department is working closely with key Partners to coordinate and make available content tailored to support our learners’ educational and health needs during this time.

The DBE website has been updated with current and relevant content inclusive of reading resources and websites. Other content which is available on websites of our partners has also been made available through links on the DBE website on www.education.gov.za.

Basic Education and SABC launch Coronavirus COVID-19 TV and radio curriculum support programmes for learners

The Department of Basic Education and SABC have launched a multi-media learner support initiative under the banner: COVID-19 Learner Support aimed at limiting the impact of the lockdown to the school calendar.

The programme is scheduled to start on 9 April 2020 and will broadcast across three SABC TV Channels and 13 Radio stations with online support.

The TV Schedule is as follows:

SABC 1: Mon - Sun 05h00 - 06h00               
SABC 2: Mon - Fri and 09h30 -11h00
SABC 3: Mon - Fri 06h00 - 07h00

The FREE STEM Lockdown Digital School has expanded into community television in order to reach an even bigger audience. Starting, 21 April 2020, the COVID-19 learner support programme will be available on two DSTV channels; 1KZN (261) and Soweto TV (251) to increase access. The school is supporting learners who are learning from home because of the coronavirus which resulted in the lockdown which started on March 26. 

The radio slots
https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_documents/radio.pdf

May/June exam rewrites

The 2021 May / June examination is the second examination opportunity that is offered to candidates who wrote the November 2020 examinations and is also an examination for adult candidates sitting for matric examinations.  The writing of this examination commenced on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, and concluded on Wednesday, 07 July 2021.

Western Cape Education Department 

The WCED’s ePortal has been updated for home learning. We encourage parents and learners to visit this site: https://wcedeportal.co.za/

There are also a variety of examination papers for various grades available on our website for download: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/exam-papers.

     

    Universities and further education institutions

    Statement by Minister Blade Nzimande on plans for the post school education and training institutions on the Coronavirus COVID-19 adjusted level 4 lockdown with effect from 28 June 2021, 30 June 2021

    Statement by Minister Blade Nzimande on the Covid 19 vaccination roll out plan for the post school education and training sector, 23 July 2021 

    Return to Residences

    Within the national guidelines to be published by the Department, plans for the return of students to residences will be determined at institutional level, in line with numbers that can be accommodated to enable physical distancing, the handling of communal spaces, hygiene requirements and dining hall arrangements.

    Students identified to reintegrate into campuses may include specific groups of students who are living with disabilities, who are not able to access connectivity where they live, or are living in circumstances where studying is difficult. In terms of the phase-in plans, the maximum % per residence identified for the level (Level 3 - 33%; Level 2 - 66%) must be adhered to and all health and safety protocols must be in place. Students who live in private rented accommodation close to campuses may also return provided physical distancing arrangements are in place.

    TVET colleges

    For TVET Colleges, a tentative academic calendar has been drawn up pending any new announcements on the different levels of the lockdown by the President. In terms of the tentative calendar the following return dates apply:

    NATED Trimester (Natural Science) students

    • All programmes: 20 May - 22 July
    • N5 & N2: 15 June
    • N4 & N1: 22 June

    NATED Semester (BUSINESS STUDIES) students

    • N6: 14 July - 17 September
    • N5: 29 June 14 July - 17 September
    • N4: 06 July 14 July - 17 September

    NC(V) students

    • Level 4:   8 July - 17 September
    • Level 3:  8 July 8 July - 17 September
    • Level 2:   8 July 8 July - 17 September
       

    A campus-based approach will be applied where colleges are affected by different lockdown levels. 

    Several colleges have already developed learning materials both for TV and radio broadcasts which are shared through the DHET website. These initiatives will continue beyond the return of students to campuses.  Furthermore, all students who will not have returned to campuses in June and July will also be supported remotely until they return to campus according to the phase-in process.

    Colleges are using textbooks, e-Guides, past question papers, and uploaded YouTube videos to assist students. These are supported through bulk text messages from colleges and WhatsApp groups set up by lecturers.

    2021 academic year

    The vaccination of PSET staff  of 35 years of age and above

    Higher Health has made provisions with each site fully dedicated to vaccinate about 300 to 1000 people per day per site.

    Higher Health will be supporting the sites on the days of vaccination. 

    Higher Health with the Department of Health and service providers will further open twelve (12) additional sites across Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Gqeberha and eThekwini starting from Monday, 26 July.

    This will cover over 120 000 staff from universities, TVETs and CET colleges in the next 2-3 weeks.

    These same sites will be extended to private institutions, skills learning sector, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), National Skills Fund (NSF) with a range of skills development providers.

    Learner Support

    A process is underway to upload previous examination papers for students to work through in preparation for examinations. Colleges will be informed on how students can access these examination question papers.

    NSFAS COVID-19 contingency plan and disbursements

    Qualifying TVET students Students are urged to create myNSFAS portal account to receive their allowances.

    All NSFAS funded and registered students will receive their allowances accordingly.

    Resources

    Covid-19 Curriculum Support Programme for Grade 12 Learners on radio

    Advice to parents