After weeks of consultations and intense discussions, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that public schools will close for four weeks, with exceptions for Grades 12 and 7. And the academic year will be extended to 2021.
Amid the Covid-19 peak, South Africa's public schools will go on a break from 27 July to 24 August, except for Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners who will return to school on 3 August and 10 August respectively.
"We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections," President Cyril Ramaphosa said during his address to the nation on Thursday 23 July.
"This has also been the experience in a number of other countries where schools have opened and have also had to close," he added.
Ramaphosa alluded to the divergent nature of the consultations among various sector stakeholders, including teacher unions, school governing bodies and civil society, that led to this decision.
"These produced a broad range of divergent views. It is necessary to report that it was difficult to find consensus on the best approach," Ramaphosa said.
However, he reassured the public that there was...