Despite the plans to save the 2020 academic year, the Covid-19 Pandemic has caused massive strain on the Academic Calendar. Schools were previously closed for 3 months, before the planned phases of reopening.
The first phase allowed Grade 7s and Grade 12s to reopen as they are considered exit phases, and Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 3, Grade 10, and Grade 11 were allowed to also join in playing catch-ups.
On the 23rd of July 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the Nation on schools shutdown this is after an Increased number of Covid-19 cases were recorded within the educational sector including learners, teachers, and staff members.
After several consultations done by the office of the president, this resulted in the conclusion of closing public schools for 4 weeks starting from the 27th of July until the 24th of August 2020, but Grade 7s and Grade 12s will only close for a week as the country prepares for the Covid-19 storm ahead, However, Epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdul Karim has stated that there was no scientific evidence that the age group that returned to class contributed in the transmission rate in schools.
Meanwhile, private schools are yet to remain open, some of the factors that contributed to the decisions included less recorded numbers of Covid-19 cases in independent schools and proper hygiene measures.
The congress of South African students
COSAS said they are in the process to force the shutdown of private schools, the COSASî spokesperson Douglas Ngobeni cited reasons that Private schools were still trying to make a profit in the midst of a pandemic, that their mandate as an organization was to save lives.
In contrary to the efforts of the Government to try and save lives by closing schools for the period of 4 weeks, some learners are skeptical about the decision, as each learner has different needs in class and some need more attention than others, Sabelo Zulu from Snakepark Soweto a Grade 12 learner said that they need more time with their teachers and that he understands better when the teachers explain to him.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the 2020 academic year will prolong beyond 2020.