Government clarifies position on nursery schools, day care centres and other South African ECDs under lockdown

 ·23 Jun 2020

The Department of Social Development has clarified that South Africa’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres will remain closed until a future date, to be determined by the minister.

This means that while nursery schools and ECDs that are affiliated to schools can return from 6 July – as per the Department of Basic Education’s directives – other private centres which fall under the ambit of the Department of Social Development have no set opening date.

These ECD centres include private nursery schools, day cares, playgroups, childminders, toy libraries and other early school groups.

While no date has yet been set for these centres to re-open, the department says that preparations can start to get underway.

“Staff, including managers, early childhood development educators, early childhood development practitioners, administrative and other support staff, either full time or part-time involved in the operations of the early childhood development programme and/or partial care facility, may return to their workplace, subject to measures and conditions as set out in the (health and safety guidelines),” the department said.

The department will also require these centres to complete a pre-opening self-assessment form if they plan to reopen under the duration of the state of disaster.

As part of this process, the department said that it could perform an onsite inspection before allowing a centre to reopen.

You can find the full directive as well as the required forms below.

Updated school calendar 

The Department of Basic Education published a new school calendar for the 2020 academic year on 11 June.

South Africa’s school year has been drastically shortened due to the country’s coronavirus lockdown with Grade 7 and 12 students returning to school this week for the first time since the middle of March.

The rest of the country’s students will only return to school in July and August, the Department of Basic Education has said.

The updated calendar provides for new term dates as well the updated school holidays, which amount to a total of seven days for the rest of the year.

Read: For parents worried about kids returning to school – here’s insight into how homeschooling works

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