With the country heading into Level 3 from 1 June 2020, and schools opening up for certain students, here’s the lowdown on what you need to know as a teacher during this stage of the Covid-19 crisis in South Africa.
A phased reopening
On 1 June*, Grade 7s and matrics will be permitted to return to school, with other grades to follow. While we do know that each grade will be returning to school in stages, the government has not yet announced the dates for other grades.
Health and safety strategies
Following government guidelines, each school will be responsible for ensuring that preventative measures are put in place, including screening, the mandatory use of cloth masks at all times, strict social distancing, and regular cleaning and sanitisation.
In order to facilitate social distancing, some schools may consider offering a part-time school timetable, with 50% of students being taught on certain days of the week or at certain times of day, and the other half coming to school at the other times. How this would work will depend on the school, as there are numerous factors to consider, including transport arrangements – whether there will be learner transport available at particular times and whether transport options comply with Covid-19 regulations.
Continued home learning
Those grades that are not yet allowed to return to school must keep up with the curriculum by continuing with home learning.
For many learners, home-based learning will be a reality for the foreseeable future – not only as schools may not be allowed to operate at 100% capacity for a while, but also since schools may need to close again if there is a spike in infections. As Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has noted, ‘…if we open and we experience difficulties, there is nothing stopping us from closing schools.’
An ever-evolving situation
In this time of uncertainty, we want to encourage teachers to stay up to date and learn how to support your students, no matter what the learning environment looks like.
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* the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga has since back-peddled and stated the following: More importantly, the sector has agreed that effective teaching and learning, is expected to resume on 08 June 2020.