school reopening

School reopening: Everything you need to know about back-to-school

Posted by Andile Sicetsha

The daze of the new year is slowly dissipating and for many parents, school reopening is the main priority as South Africa prepares to open its gates to institutions of learning for millions of pupils.

School reopening: Back-to-school season is here

If you are smart and forward-thinking, you probably took advantage of the limitations of a festive season hampered by Covid-19 and saved enough money to ease past the usual stresses of January.

This time of the year is often hijacked by ‘back-to-school’ campaigns and for many parents, it’s a long-drawn-out nightmare that only ends moments after you’ve parted ways with your child on their first day of school.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Nothing beats preparation and to make life easier, we have collected all the necessary information parents will need going into this year’s school curriculum.

Everything you need to know about school reopening

Does lockdown change anything?

Currently, South Africa is in Level 3 lockdown, with things looking worse by the day. However, with no indications of stricter restrictions in the foreseeable future, the Department of Basic Education has forged ahead with school reopening nationwide on Wednesday 27 January 2021.

The department has yet to issue a formal directive on the safety protocols that must be adopted at schools this year. At this stage, it is presumed that pupils will be required to wear face masks at all times and sanitise their hands regularly.

A breakdown of school terms in 2021

Much like any other curriculum, 2021’s school calendar will be split up into four terms, the second and third carrying the most number of weeks. Here is a table that lists the terms and other important information like the number of school days in 2021.

TermsDurationNo. of weeksNo. of days
127 Jan – 31 Mar1046
213 Apr – 25 Jun1154
313 Jul – 23 Sept1153
45 Oct – 8 Dec1047

Public holidays to take note of this year

These are the public holidays that may affect schooling this year:

  • 1 January: New Year’s Day
  • 21 March: Human Rights Day
  • 22 March: Public Holiday
  • 02 April: Good Friday
  • 05 April: Family Day
  • 27 April: Freedom Day
  • 26 April: School Holiday
  • 1 May: Workers’ Day
  • 16 June: Youth Day
  • 9 August: National Women’s Day
  • 24 September: Heritage Day
  • 16 December: Day of Reconciliation
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Day of Goodwill
  • 27 December: Public holiday