Government changes back-to-school dates for certain grades due to rising COVID-19 cases

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has announced that only Grade R, 6, and 11 learners will return to school on Monday 6 July.

This applies to all provinces, with the other grades expected to be phased in later in July.

It had previously been gazetted that Grade R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, and 11 learners would all return to school on 6 July.

“We will adjust the reopening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy, which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to school reopening taking into account all factors that affect the work we do,” said DBE minister Angie Motshekga.

She said the DBE has come to this decision by observing the rising numbers of community COVID-19 transmissions throughout the country.

“We recognised that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said Motshekga.

Motshekga hosted the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) today where five reports were received regarding key areas in the basic education sector.

“CEM received reports since the first reopening phase and assessed the level of readiness of each provincial Education Department to receive more learners,” said the DBE.

Motshekga will host a media briefing on the weekend to explain the revised plans, which include the department’s goal of having all grades return to school by August 2020.

School calendar

On 11 June, Motshekga published the amended school calendar for 2020.

The four school terms for 2020 are gazetted as follows:

  • Term 1: 15 January – 18 March
  • Term 2: 8 June – 7 August
  • Term 3: 12 August – 23 September
  • Term 4: 5 October – 15 December

This new calendar means that between Term 2 and Term 3 there will only be a single day’s holiday, as Monday 10 August is a public holiday.

However, to provide some compensation for this, Term 3 will only comprise seven weeks.

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Government changes back-to-school dates for certain grades due to rising COVID-19 cases