Covid-19: Here are the rules and dates for grades going back to school

  • Schools will reopen for grades 7 and 12 on Monday, but if you do not want your child in school you must apply for an exemption and home schooling.
  • Other grades, early childhood development centres, and special needs schools will reopen on 6 July or 3 August.
  • There will be no sport, cultural activities and choir practices - in short - just school work.

*UPDATE: The return dates for grades 1 and 2 have now been gazetted. They will both return on 6 July.

The Department of Education has released rules and guidelines as the country gears up to open schools from Monday, beginning with grades 7 and 12, but if you do not want your child to attend you must apply for an exemption and home schooling.

According to the guidelines gazetted on Friday, there will be strict screening for Covid-19 at schools, and parents and guardians should start thinking of a Plan B for transport if their child is found to have one of the following symptoms during the screening:

-  Cough, sore throat, redness of eyes, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness.

If these are detected at the school, they should be reported to the compliance officer or designated official and the school must:

- Not permit the person to enter the premises.

- If the person is already on the school premises or office, they must be isolated immediately.

- The parent or guardian must be contacted to make arrangements to transport the pupil home to self-isolate or for medical treatment or testing in a way that does not put anybody else at risk.

- The school must assess the risk of transmission and disinfect any official, teacher or pupil's workstation. 

- Refer people who may be at risk for screening.

- Take any other appropriate measure to prevent possible transmission.

READ | Covid-19: Find homeschooling information here

Anybody diagnosed with Covid-19 and who has been isolated, can only go back to the office or school after they have tested negative.

Dates, transport, exams

According to the new regulations published in the Government Gazette, other grades would either return on 6 July or 3 August, which can be seen in full in the table below.

The May/June 2020 examination for those who have registered for the Senior Certificate and National Senior Certificate will be held in November and December instead, unless unforeseen circumstances occur.

To move between provinces to get to school and back, education department officials and teachers will have to have a permit to perform an essential or permitted service during the applicable alert level for their daily commute.

ALSO READ | 32 Western Cape schools affected by Covid-19

The permit may be issued by the heads of department or a delegated official or, in the case of a school, by a principal or a person delegated by the principal.

Pupils who travel between provinces will need a certificate to commute to and from school daily.

The certificate may be issued by the principal or a delegated official.


Department of Basic Education, provincial education department and district office officials as well as teachers may commute between where they live and their offices, and schools within their provincial area of work, with a permit and any form of identification.

A pupil's certificate must state the name and address of the school and the particulars of the pupil concerned.

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A person transporting a pupil to school between provinces must also be issued with a permit as contemplated in regulation 34(7), which says the school or a person delegated by the school must provide the permit to transport the pupil between provinces.

The certificates and permits referred to must be issued no later than seven days from the respective commencement dates specified for the phased in return of pupils, teachers and officials.

If there is evidence that an official or teacher contracted Covid-19 on the job, a claim for compensation must be lodged in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

Anybody diagnosed with Covid-19 and who has been isolated, can only go back to the office or school after they have tested negative. 

These are the proposed return dates for the other grades:

*Note: Grades 1 and 2 at public schools were not originally mentioned in the gazetted table below. They will both return on 6 July, according to an updated gazette.

School return dates
School return dates. (Government gazette)
School return dates
School return dates. (Government Gazette)

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