THE Department of Basic Education has announced that the wearing of face masks by learners, staff and teachers at school or in the classroom is no longer required.
This comes after the Health Minister, Joe Phaahla published the amendments of regulations in the Government Gazette on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, South Africans no longer required to wear masks indoors and public areas.
“The Department of Health published Regulations on 22 June 2022 repealing amongst others, the wearing of face masks when entering and when being inside an indoor public place,” said Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education.
Mhlanga said that the wearing of face masks in schools is optional for learners and educators.
“The Department of Basic Education aligns itself and welcomes this new development. The wearing of face masks in schools is optional for learners and educators,” said Mhlanga.
Angie Motshekga, the Minister of Basic Education, said she supports the repealing of mask mandate for learners.
Motshekga said that learners and staff who wish to continue to wear a face mask in schools will be allowed to exercise this option.
“In line with this decision to repeal the regulations, wearing of face masks by learners in classrooms, and indoor gatherings is no longer a requirement. Those learners and staff who wish to continue to wear face a mask in schools will be allowed to exercise this option,” said Motshekga.
In March 2020, South Africa’s government ordered a hard lockdown to limit the transmission of COVID.
Schools and universities were closed. As elsewhere in the world, schools had to shift rapidly to replace in-person teaching with various forms of technology based, remote and distance education.
That shift exacerbated existing inequalities: poorer communities often struggle to access fast, reliable and affordable internet.