The National Coronavirus Command Council has recommended that schools push their return dates back by two-and-a-half weeks, as new COVID-19 cases continue to rip through South Africa. The developments come following high-level talks between teaching unions and the NCCC on Wednesday evening.

Will school reopening dates be delayed?

The school return dates had been decided at the end of 2020, and just as recently as Monday, Cyril Ramaphosa was of the view that educational facilities could reopen as scheduled. But in the last few days, concerns about learner safety have intensified, and it seems the NCCC is seriously heeding these warning signs.

Teaching numbers have also been left depleted, due to the sheer amount of deaths that have struck the profession. Allowing schools another fortnight or so to prepare themselves may prove to be a very sensible move, given that classes will get the rest of the academic year to make up for this apparent ‘loss of time’.

New school return dates: When does the NCCC want learners to go back?

The following proposals have been made by the NCCC, and we expect them to be confirmed on Friday:

  • Schoolchildren were due to resume their studies on Wednesday 27 January
  • However, following discussions with NAISA and other stakeholders, the NCCC wants this pushing back.
  • It has been proposed that learners must only go back on Monday 15 February instead.
  • This would keep kids out of school for an additional 19 days.

Cabinet ‘lockdown update’ due on Friday 15 January

Phumla Williams, Director General of GCIS, has also announced that a ‘special Cabinet meeting’ took place on Thursday, and the conclusions will be presented to the media on Friday. We fully expect that return dates for schools will top the agenda, and there will be an early start to proceedings tomorrow:

“A Special Cabinet [meeting] was held today on Thursday 14 January. A media briefing will be held tomorrow, Friday 15 January at 9:00, to present the outcomes. Venue Details will be posted in due course.”

Phumla Williams

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Presh JM Reporter

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