Back to school: Here is when the other grades will return

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  • Learners in grades R, 6, 7, 11 and 12 have already returned to school.
  • Minister Angie Motshekga has now revealed when pupils in other grades would also be returning.
  • Schools closed when the country went into a hard lockdown in an attempt to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has gazetted amended regulations on the dates when children in grades still learning from home will return to school, and join Grades R, 6, 7, 11 and 12. 

On Tuesday, Motshekga amended the regulations which form part of the Disaster Management Act.

Pupils in grades R, 6, 7, 11 and 12 have already returned to their classrooms.

Schools were closed when the country was placed on Level 5 lockdown in March.

READ | Eastern Cape postpones return of Grades R, 6 and 11 as Covid-19 cases rise

Grade 7 and 12 pupils were the first to return, followed by children in grades R, 6 and 11 on Monday. 

The amendments follow a decision by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) which decided last Thursday that only grades R, 6 and 11 would be returning as of Monday, leaving pupils in grades 1, 2, 3, and 10 to continue their schooling from home.

According to the amended regulations grades 3 and 10 are expected back on 20 July, while pupils in grades 1 and 2 will return to school a week later on 27 July.

Grade 4 and 9 children will go back on 17 August.

The final cohort of pupils to return to schools will be those in grades 5 and 8 on 31 August.

The staggered return is to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 among pupils, teachers and staff at schools. 

Not all provinces were able to receive pupils on Monday – especially the little ones in Grade R.

In her briefing on Sunday,Motshekga said provinces who were not ready to accept Grade Rs had until the end of July to accommodate them.

News24 reported on Monday that due to a peak in infections in the Eastern Cape, the provincial department decided to entirely postpone the return of Grade R,6 and 11s

The province said the grades would go back on 20 July instead. This would see the classes in the province returning the same day as the those in 3 and 10 – as per the amended regulations.

Motshekga said the department was also working with national associations responsible for pupils with special needs to streamline their return to school.

According to the amended regulations, year 2 of schools of skills, schools of learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities (SID) and with autistic learners below 13 years will also join grades 3 and 10 on 20 July.  

The senior group of pupils at autistic schools will join along with Grades 4 and 9.Education MECs in respective provinces have been directed to report to Motshekga at least seven days before the stipulated opening dates - should they be unable to phase in pupils. 

The regulations state that  MECs must furnish the Minister with reasons why they were not compliant along with a plan on when they would be ready to phase in the pupils.  

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