Parents who don't want their kids to return to school should apply first: Government sets new rules

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If you don’t want to send your child back to school out of fear of coronavirus, you will need to get permission from the provincial education department to keep them at home.

And, the application for either full or partial exemption from compulsory school attendance must be accompanied by a commitment from the parent that they will take full responsibility for the child’s continued learning at home.

This is according to the proposed amendments to the directions on the reopening of schools, which publication Times Select has seen. The revised directions are expected to be gazetted early this week.

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According to the proposed amendments, parents have to ensure that teaching and learning material is collected or the child participates in online learning “to ensure that the assessment requirements for promotion to the next grade are complied with”.

The proposed regulations also indicate that grades R, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 11 will return on August 24 after schools return from the month-long break announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on July 23.

Grades 5 and 8 will be phased in on August 31.

Governing body associations and some teacher unions have questioned the legality of today’s return of matric pupils, saying their return date was not valid because it had not been gazetted. Ramaphosa announced that matrics would return to school today, and grade 7s on August 12.

According to the proposals, which were discussed with teacher unions and governing body associations last week, parents of pupils with comorbidities must produce a medical certificate when they apply for partial or full exemption from attending school. Pupils given the green light to stay at home will not be de-registered from their current school.

The document said: “While punctual and regular attendance is necessary, learners may not be able to attend a school due to Covid-19-related reasons. Learners will be supported by the school to the extent that the resources of the school can accommodate them.”

Public schools that brought in other grades besides those stipulated by basic education minister Angie Motshekga have been allowed to do so.

Anthea Cereseto, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation, said that until the amended directions are gazetted, they advised their members to follow the existing ones.

– Sowetan


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