School sports and travel for tournaments get green light to resume

Arts and cultural activities also permitted as lockdown rules are relaxed

02 August 2021 - 11:15
By prega govender AND Prega Govender
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has granted permission for pupils to travel to other schools and provinces to participate in national, provincial and district championships and tournaments. Stock photo.
Image: MIKE SEGAR/Reuters Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has granted permission for pupils to travel to other schools and provinces to participate in national, provincial and district championships and tournaments. Stock photo.

Schools have been given the green light to resume contact and non-contact sports, including training and inter-school matches, as well as arts and culture activities, but without spectators.

This comes as primary school pupils resumed classes on a full-time basis from Monday.

The department of basic education suspended all sporting activities on May 19 after outbreaks of Covid-19 infections in Gauteng linked to sporting activities.

Contact sports include soccer, rugby, hockey, netball and volleyball, while non-contact sports include table tennis, athletics, cricket, chess, gymnastics and swimming.

In a gazette published on Sunday, basic education minister Angie Motshekga also announced that co-curricular and enrichment programmes such as oral history, spelling bees, moot court, speech contests, debates and school clubs can also resume.

According to the document, choir practice or rehearsals and choir competitions may take place in well-ventilated areas or outdoors with all participants maintaining social distancing and without any spectators.

Motshekga has also granted permission for pupils to travel to other schools and provinces to participate in national, provincial and district championships and tournaments.

Safety measures to be followed include:

  • the number of persons in venues where the activities take place as well as change rooms or training areas, at any given time, must not be more than 50% of the capacity of the venue;
  • the total number of persons, including participants, officials and other personnel must not exceed 100 for outdoor activities and 50 for indoor activities;
  • face masks must be worn by all persons entering the venues where the activities take place as well as change rooms or training areas, except when participating in training or matches;
  • there must be sufficient quantities of hand sanitisers and there must also be facilities for washing hands with soap and water;
  • all windows and doors must remain open, where feasible, to ensure adequate ventilation; and
  • the sharing of drinks and drink containers is not allowed.

Thomas Hlongwane, president of the SA Principals’ Association in Gauteng, which has about 400 members, welcomed the resumption of contact and non-contact sports.

“Pupils were deprived of the opportunity of playing sport, but at the time it was the right decision to suspend sporting activities because infections were picking up.” ​

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