Proposed Measures to Contain and Manage Coronavirus at Schools


The Department of Basic Education has developed Standard Operating Procedures to contain and manage the coronavirus once schools re-open. 

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, the department has been working with the Department of Health to implement these SOPs, which will also cover early childhood development facilities. 

These procedures will guide administrators through the necessary steps to manage and prevent the spread of the virus.

Physical Distancing

To adhere to physical distancing regulations the department proposes the following measures:

  • Ensure that no more than two pupils share a desk
  • No hugging or handshaking.
  • Pupils and teachers should wear cloth masks at all times, and avoid direct contact
  • All sports matches, choral practices, festivals, and eisteddfods are not permitted.
  • Extra classes should be arranged in small groups that maintain social distancing.

Motshekga said the phased re-opening will allow for more space in classrooms.

Standard Operating Procedures

The Department of Basic Education listed the procedures it would put in place in order to adhere to the conditions set out for them by the National Command Council.

Plans would include:

  • Ensure that infrastructure and furniture are conducive and safe for teaching and learning
  • Sanitise all classrooms before the school day starts and each learners’ hands when entering the classroom
  • Ensure buses transporting learners are sanitised and that leaners wear masks (Department of Transport will assist)
  • Remedial measures on classroom and water shortages   
  • Teaching infection prevention and control in classrooms, toilets and food preparation areas
  • Cleaning staff to be increased in schools to ensure cleanliness at all times
  • Screening for all teachers and learners showing any symptoms – those at risk will be asked to self-isolate and get tested

Motshekga said the infrastructure at schools had been of critical concern which the sector was cognisant about.

The provincial education departments identified 3 500 schools that have water supply challenges, with the highest number of them being in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga. 

Motshekga said all the conditions set would determine the phasing-in approach, adding that no school would re-open if it had water supply challenges. 

The sector has acquired basic hygiene and sanitation packages, which include personal protective equipment based on risk exposure. 

Orientation and Training Program

An orientation and training program will be implemented to allow teachers, pupils, and non-teaching staff to familiarise themselves with all special arrangements put in place at schools as the country fights the pandemic.

No school will be allowed to function without all the measures put in place.