School Safety Guiding Principles – a guide for learners, caregivers, educators and school staff.

  • Covid-19 Disaster Updated School Safety Protocols: 2021
  • Supporting documents
  • Reporting problems with compliance with Covid-19 health, safety and social distancing protocols
  • More guides
  • A day in the life of a learner during Covid-19. 

Covid-19 Disaster Updated School Safety Protocols

There are a number of preconditions required for schools to be reopened safely in the COVID-19 disaster period. We have put together a simple guide for learners, caregivers, educators and school staff to understand what is needed in terms of the protocols for health, safety, hygiene and social distancing during this period. This was last updated on 23 February 2021. 

You can read it here.

We based this guide off three documents:

How to report problems with Covid-19 health, safety and social distancing protocols at schools:

If your school is not complying with the minimum health, safety and social distancing measures explained below, you can report the problem to the authorities.

  • First, lodge a complaint internally with the school.
    • According to the Standard Operating Procedures, every school must oversee and implement Covid-19 health and safety measures through a “Covid-19 response team” which is led by the principal. The Covid-19 response team is jointly responsible for managing the implementation of Covid-19 measures at the school.
    • This team is comprised of:
      • the Integrated School Health Team,
      • the School-Based Support Team and
      • a member of the School Governing Body.
      • The principal of the school – or a senior member of the school management team appointed by the principal – is the leader of this team and the “point person” between the school community, and the Provincial Education Department and the Department of Basic Education.
    • You can report issues with safety compliance to any member of the Covid-19 response team.
    • The principal, who is the leader of that team, must report these issues to their local Circuit Manager and District/Provincial Integrated School Health Team. The district refers this upward to the Head of Department at the provincial level.
    • According to the Directions, after receiving reports of compliance issues in schools, the Head of Department at the Provincial Level and the school must, within three days, put together a plan to resolve the issue. This plan must be communicated to the school community within 7 calendar days of the first complaint.
  • If laying the complaint internally at the school does not address the problem, you can call the local district office for your school.
    • You can find which district your school is here, or you can ask the school principal or SGB chair.
    • You can find contact details for your district offices here.
    • The district must refer this problem to the provincial Head of Department.
  • You can also call the toll-free Department of Basic Education hotline number: 0800 202 933.
    • The Hotline will ask you whether you have already complained internally at the school level.
    • You need to have the name of the school and details about the complaint.
    • They will ask which District your school is located in. You can find this information online here, or you can ask the school principal or SGB chair.
    • The Hotline should refer your complaint to your provincial Head of Department, which then has 7 calendar days to communicate a plan for the resolution of the issues to you and the school community.
  • If after 7 days you still have not received any feedback, or if there is no plan to address the issues at the school, you can contact SECTION27.

More guides

If you would like more detailed (but non-mandatory) guidelines on school safety, sanitation and hygiene during COVID-19, you can consult these guides from the World Health Organisation and the Colleges of Medicine South Africa:



A day in the life of a learner

We have also put together this infographic for learners to help them adapt to this ‘new normal’. It details what learners need to do during every part of the school day.