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COVID-19 Alert Level 2 Measures in the PSET Sector

August 28, 2020

Department of Higher Education and Training

Under Alert Level 2, a maximum of 66% of students will be allowed to return to university campuses.

The higher education, science and innovation minister, Blade Nzimande, announced this in a statement on COVID-19 Alert Level 2 Measures in the Post School Education and Training Sector.

The minister clarified that this will be done in terms of the “detailed COVID-19 management plans in place across the sector, and to ensure the continued safety of students and staff, while allowing for greater access to campus teaching and learning for more students”.

According to the minister, the following categories of students will be able to return under Level 2:

• All groups that had been prioritised to return in Level 3, but couldn’t be accommodated due to the maximum campus carrying capacity having been reached;
• Students in all years of study who require laboratory and technical equipment to complete the academic year;
• Students in all years of study who require practical placements/experiential learning/work place-based learning to complete the academic year (provided the work places and platforms are open and prepared); and
• First year students in all undergraduate programmes.

The higher education and training department is targeting all institutions to complete the 2020 academic year by the end of February 2021, with starting dates for the new 2021 academic year ranging from 15 March to 15 April 2021.

The minister reported that the public higher education community has recorded 80 deaths from the virus.

Of these, 35 were staff and 9 students from universities and 36 from TVET Colleges, with 11 students and 25 staff members.

Meanwhile, in the realm of basic education, the basic education minister, Angie Motshekga, during a debate in parliament on the reopening of schools, declared that the strategy to rescue the 2020 academic year is predicated on two pillars – curriculum trimming for all grades except grade 12.

The minister added that the basic education department remained on course to deliver the “full curriculum coverage for Grade 12s so that their school exit qualification enjoys the same status as the previous cohort”.

“I am happy to report that, as of yesterday, we successfully opened our school gates to learners in Grades R, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, and 11. The final set of grades, namely Grades 5 and 8, will be returning on 31 August 2020 as per our previous commitment,” she said.

In terms of infections, 6 161 teachers have been infected followed by learners (1176) and support staff at 762.

Fatalities thus far stand at 78 for teachers and 8 non-teaching staff.

The department also recently briefed parliament on Directions on the re-opening of schools, the amended 2020 school calendar and the risk adjusted approach to curriculum and assessment planning.

The department confirmed that the November 2020 examinations for Grade 12 learners will run from 5 November to 15 December 2020.

Marking will be done from 4 January 2021 to 22 January 2021 and results will be released on 23 February 2021.