Back to school rules: Must be at 50% capacity and pupils must be 1.5m apart

Pupils are to be 1.5m apart at all times when schools open, and schools themselves can only operate at 50% capacity.
Pupils are to be 1.5m apart at all times when schools open, and schools themselves can only operate at 50% capacity.
Image: SAMORN TARAPAN/123rf.com

When schools open across SA, they may only operate at 50% capacity.

In regulations gazetted on Friday, the basic education department said that social distancing measures had to be in place at schools. This meant all pupils, teachers and other staff had to keep 1.5m apart.

“To ensure compliance with health, safety and social distancing requirements, school facilities must operate at 50% of their capacity or less at any given time,” the regulations state.

How, exactly, this was done was up to the individual schools.

The following “timetable models” were provided:

  • Daily and weekly rotation;
  • Bi-Weekly rotation;
  • Platooning or shifts;
  • Traditional and daily; or 
  • A hybrid of the latter.

“Schools with large enough facilities to comply with health, safety and social distancing requirements do not have to change their standard timetable models and may continue to operate in accordance with those timetable models, provided that they ensure compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements,” the regulations state — but those schools need to apply with the education department to be exempt.

They also state that a safety plan for each school or education office, the regulations state that “symptom screening” must be conducted at offices or schools daily.


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