After much debate around whether the school year should commence on 27 January as previously planned, the Department of Basic Education has confirmed the postponement of the reopening of schools by two weeks.
"School Management Teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021; Teachers shall follow on Monday, 01 February 2021; and Lastly, learners will return on Monday, 15 February 2021," Deputy Minister of Basic Education Dr Reginah Mhaule announced during a live press briefing on Friday, 15 January.
"The decision had been made," the deputy minister said, "to provide relief to the health system which is already struggling to cope with the current demands" and applies to both public and private schools which "follow the same calendar".
The deputy minister shared that the department would continue to "observe the situation under the guidance of the Health sector".
"From here we can all move together in the same direction".
Regarding private schools which may have already opened, Mzwandile Matthews, an advisor to the minister noted that the department is optimistic that these schools "will consider opening and closing as stated by the deputy minister" following consultations with both the National Alliance of Independent School Associations (NAISA) and the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA).
"The determination made was that both NAISA and ISASA will persuade the schools that have reopened to follow the reopening protocols. The ones that have not yet opened will be persuaded to consider delaying the reopening," Matthews said.
Matthews also confirmed that the release date for the 2020 matric exam results, previously set for 23 February 2021, will remain unchanged.
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