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Schools apply to deviate from new term dates

PAARL – Several schools in Paarl have this week phased in and welcomed back more grade classes. Among these schools are Paarl Boys’ Primary and La Rochelle Girls’ Primary.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has made it clear that schools can deviate from the dates set out by the Department of Basic Education if they so choose, but can do so only if they have requested permission and been given the green light.

On Monday 1 June, national government released amendments (Notice 304) to Notice 302 of 2020 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, in terms of Regulation 4(3).

“Amendment 1(A) states a school may be permitted to deviate from the phased-in return to school in respect of the specific grades or dates, provided such a school complies with minimum health and safety and social distancing measures and requirements on Covid-19 referred to in our guidelines and regulations,” said WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond.

She added that this deviation was primarily intended to assist independent schools and, under exceptional circumstances only, in some public schools. The deparment will consider a public school as an exceptional case only if it is a small multi-grade farm school, a preparatory school that does not have Grade 7 learners or any other school that does not have Grade 7 or 12 learners.

“The deviation is not intended to accelerate the return of learners in public schools generally,” Hammond explained. “The phased-in approach is intended to allow schools to put all the necessary hygiene and safety measures required in place, and to test the readiness of the school for the return of a single grade before larger numbers of learners return.”

To date, the department has received 142 applications for deviation from public school dates.

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