The Department of Basic Education has announced that the government will keep all schools closed in South Africa due to concerns around the country second Covid-19 wave.

In a media briefing on Friday (15 January), Deputy Basic Education minister Reginah Mhaule said that both public and private schools will delay their opening dates by two weeks.

The return date of independent schools will vary based on their respective calendars. For other schools, the new opening dates are as follows:

  • Teachers will report to schools on Monday, 1 February
  • Learners will return on Monday, 15 February

Mhaule said that support staff will use this additional time to prepare for schools the return of learners. She added that further meetings will take place next week to determine the readiness of schools to reopen.

A survey published by the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) this week showed that 53% of adults think schools should remain closed until the situation improves.

19% of adults believe that schools should re-open for grade 7 and grade 12 learners only.

“The findings from the survey show that the majority of adults oppose the re-opening of schools while Covid-19 cases continue at their current high levels,” said Professor Carin Runciman, UJ Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Change

“This opposition is strongest amongst the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged sections of society, who are less likely to have confidence in the ability of their schools to provide a safe environment for learners.

“These findings illustrate that although parents are deeply concerned about their children’s education that they are equally, if not more, concerned about the safety of their children, their families and communities.”