Updated lockdown rules for schools in South Africa

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has gazetted updated lockdown regulations for South Africa’s schools.

A key change will see primary school pupils and pupils with special needs return to full-time learning from the end of July.

Currently, most students in South Africa are learning in a shift system, with a large amount of learning and coursework still expected to be done at home in an effort to increase social distancing.

Motshekga said her department will now use a risk-adjusted differentiated strategy – where school attendance is determined by the direction the pandemic is taking in specific districts or the country as a whole.

Under this system, primary school learners (Grades R to 7) must return to the daily attendance and traditional timetabling model from 26 July 2021.

The department said that, where practicable, teaching and learning may be conducted outside the confines of a classroom. Schools must also use all the available rooms or spaces to prevent overcrowding in a classroom.

The movement of learners must be minimised during teaching time with teachers rotating between lessons. Schools that cannot return to the traditional timetabling model are expected to provide official reasons to the government.

The gazette does not indicate when high schools will resume normal timetabling.

Sports and extracurricular activities

In line with a departmental announcement last week, Motshekga confirmed that all contact sport, including competitive events and matches, are suspended.

The list of contact sports includes:

  • Basketball;
  • Boxing;
  • Football;
  • Goal ball
  • Hockey;
  • Judo;
  • Karate;
  • Khokho;
  • Netball;
  • Rugby;
  • Taekwondo;
  • Volleyball
  • Waterpolo;
  • Wrestling;

Subject to health protocols, non-contact sport training and intra-school matches, non-contact sport-related activities, and all arts and culture intra-school activities, except choirs, may resume without any spectators.

The following safety measures must be adhered to when resuming non-contact activities:

  • The number of persons in the sporting venues, change rooms or training areas, at any given time, must not be more than 50% of the capacity of the venue with persons observing the social distancing requirements;
  • Face masks must be worn by all persons entering the sporting venues, change rooms or training areas, except when participating in training or matches;
  • There must be sufficient quantities of hand sanitisers, with at least 70% alcohol content, available for use by all officials, coaches, assistants, learners and participants;
  • There must be facilities for washing of hands with soap and water;
  • All windows and doors must remain open, where feasible, to ensure adequate ventilation;
  • Social distancing must be maintained at all times;
  • The sharing of drinks and drinks containers are not allowed.


Read: South Africa moves to adjusted lockdown level 2 – here are the key restrictions in place

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Updated lockdown rules for schools in South Africa