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Co-curricular and school enrichment programmes amid COVID-19

“COVID-19 has negatively affected the successful implementation of school sport, as well as co-curricular and enrichment programmes in public schools,” explained Director for Sport and Enrichment in Education, Mr Sifiso Ngobese. “According to the DBE Standard Operating Procedures and the Regulations as authorised by the Disaster Management Act, 2002, contact sport; non-contact sport, including training, intra-school and inter-school matches; and all arts and culture intra-school and inter-school activities, have been permitted without spectators. In other words, co-curricular and enrichment programmes such as Oral History, Spelling Bee, Moot Court, Speech Contests, Debates and School Clubs will be conducted following the direction issued. 

“The requirement will be for choir practice or rehearsals to be conducted in well-ventilated areas or outdoors with all participants maintaining physical distancing, and without spectators. National, provincial and district championships and tournaments for both contact and non-contact sport that require learners to travel to other schools or provinces have resumed with strict adherence to prescribed transport regulations and directions. The number of persons in venues where the activities take place, change rooms or training areas, at any given time, must not be more than 50% of the capacity of the venue,” explained Mr Ngobese. 

In respect of outdoor activities, Mr Ngobese said that, “the total number of persons, including participants, officials and other personnel must not exceed 100 and for indoor activities the number of persons must not exceed a maximum of 50 participants. Face masks must be worn by all persons entering the venues where the activities are taking place, change rooms or training areas, except when participating in training or matches. There must be sufficient quantities of hand sanitizers, with at least a 70% alcohol content, available for use by all officials, coaches, assistants, learners and participants. There must also be facilities for the washing of hands with soap and water. All windows and doors must remain open, where feasible, to ensure adequate ventilation; social distancing must be maintained at all times; and the sharing of drinks and drink containers is prohibited. The school or venue hosting the events or activities must ensure that venues, tools and equipment are cleaned and sanitized before and after any activities”.

In addition, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly put a stop to the hosting of the Spelling Bee championships at all levels, but learners have been encouraged to access the Spelling Bee words on the DBE website for their daily vocabulary building exercises. The word lists are available in the following languages: English, Sepedi, Xitsonga, siSwati and Tshivenda. The Spelling Bee in these African Indigenous languages was first hosted by the DBE, in partnership with the University of Venda in the Limpopo Province, on 28 November 2019. Work is underway to introduce isiZulu, Setswana, Sesotho and isiNdebele in 2022 with the isiZulu and Setswana word lists having been uploaded on the website. 

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