Children will return to normal school hours as of 7 February - dept

Basic Education Minister Angie Motsheka will gazette the changes to school timetables, which means rotational school learning will come to an end.

Pupils at a Gauteng school line up for the first day of school on 12 January 2022. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Basic Education announced on Thursday that children would return to normal school hours as of Monday, 7 February.

Schools have been on rotational learning since COVID-19 infections began soaring in the country.

Cabinet on Monday approved changes to coronavirus regulations that initially put learners on separate timetables to allow for adequate social distancing and decreased chances of catching the virus.

Government has amended the COVID-19 level 1 lockdown regulations after South Africa exited the fourth wave of the pandemic. Here's how the changes will affect you. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

Cabinet said that schools could now resume full-time learning.

"The Council of Education Ministers met this morning to process the decision," the department said in a statement released on Thursday.

"A series of meetings have been scheduled with stakeholders to inform them of the decision. In the meantime, the sector would prepare for the full return of learners," it stated further.

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is due to gazette the new direction and will give further details on the resumption of regular schooling.

Cabinet said on Monday that primary, secondary and special schools would return to daily attendance. The regulatory provision for social distancing of one metre for pupils in schools was also removed.

While the relaxing of social distancing regulations in schools has been widely welcomed, there are worries about the impact this will have on the pockets of the poor and working-class now that pupils will be returning to school full-time.

For many children from poor households, it would be difficult to re-budget for the extra costs involved in full-time learning. Extras like additional transport fees, extra activities at schools and other expenses would have needed to be counted into already tight budgets.

The price of fuel also went up on Wednesday.