Covid-19: Independent schools delay opening by a week, cancel orientation days

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Independent schools will open one week later than planned.
Independent schools will open one week later than planned.
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  • Independent schools have pushed out opening for 2021 by a week.
  • All pre-school activities such as sports and orientation have been cancelled. 
  • Parents have been encouraged to reduce socialising in preparation for new academic year. 

Independent schools have pushed back opening their doors to pupils by a week as a result of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The schools were supposed to open on 12 January, but Independent Schools of Southern Africa's (Isasa) executive director Lebogang Montjane said this has now been pushed out to 18 January. The decision was taken after President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to Level 3 Lockdown until 15 January.  

READ | Here's what the education department has planned for schools in 2021

Montjane said the majority of schools in the sector will open on 18 January, but a few will start online lessons from 13 January.  

"We have pushed the opening to 18 January as we await the president's announcement on 15 January regarding Level 3 lockdown. Depending on what we hear from government we will have a revised calendar. 

System

"There is a Covid-19 surge right now, so schools are thinking about implementing a hybrid system where some children are back at school and others attend online," Montjane said. 

Rage

Montjane said the sector was aware that the second wave was started, in part, by matric pupils from their schools when they attended Rage parties at the end of last year. Many of these events were subsequently cancelled. 

"You must remember that the second wave started with the matric Rage parties that were attended by independent schoolchildren so we have to be careful about how we open the schools. We also understand that this new Covid-19 variant is more infectious and it also infects young people," Montjane said. 

READ | All Rage Festival events postponed 'until further notice'

He said while they were ready to start the school year, Isasa had told all their affiliate schools to not host any camps or sports activities. 

Orientation

"Schools generally host camps and orientation days before the academic year opens. We have told all our schools to cancel all preschool activities like orientation and sports camps to avoid infections," he said. 

Montjane said while last year's lockdown that saw pupils attending class from home was tough on the sector, they were starting to see more parents signing up to their schools. 

"For us there was no time lost in terms of days of attendance and curriculum coverage. We didn't, unlike public schools, have to look at the curriculum and make a determination on what will be covered and what would not. 

"While we are seeing other parents moving their children from high fee schools to less expensive schools, we are equally seeing children joining the sector because we have managed to complete the curriculum," Montjane said.  

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