Some private schools forge ahead with resumption of academic year

The Isasa said private schools would be offering a hybrid education model including online and on-campus learning to safeguard pupils and teachers.

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JOHANNESBURG - Despite strict directives from the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa) for private schools to postpone their reopening until next week, some pupils have returned to the classroom on Wednesday.

Independent schools - which were scheduled to reopen from Wednesday - have pushed this back to 18 January.

But some schools went ahead with the resumption of the academic year.

READ: Naptosa vows to closely monitor schools amid COVID-19 second wave

The Isasa said private schools would be offering a hybrid education model including online and on-campus learning to safeguard pupils and teachers.

This follows concerns by parent groups over the high rates of COVID-19 infections in the country.

With the new virus variant affecting more young people, Isasa’s Lebogang Montjane has stressed that health and safety should be prioritised.

“The other concerns for us is that it seems this new variant does affect young people quite extensively, so we’re just trying to be cautious. Many of our schools are going to begin with re-enrolling entry level grades, putting everybody else online and then slowly but surely, re-enroll pupils.”

Meanwhile, public schools are due to open for the new academic year on 27 January amid the second wave of the pandemic.

READ: ‘We are not invincible’ – teachers fearful ahead of reopening of schools

Stellenbosch University’s Professor Jonathan Jansen said government should consider delaying the curriculum.

“We now know that to reopen schools in the middle of the peak is irresponsible.”

Jansen said if last year was anything to go by, the premature reopening of schools would not only affect the academic year but could also cost lives.

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