If protocols to prevent the spread of the virus are in place in many South African schools,
St. Andrew's private school is investigating mandatory vaccination for tours and experiential settings.
On Wednesday, South African pupils were back to the classroom for their first day of the 2022 academic year. In a country severely hit by the pandemic, face masks, physical distancing or rotational time-tabling have become the new normal for students.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the St. Andrew's girls-only private school has put in place protocols. The measures have helped staffing and learners go back to a nearly ordinary everyday life according to the senior school Covid protocols coordinator. "I'm feeling much more relaxed because we know what's there, we know how to deal with this stuff and we've had a success [...] We've had our school open and no grades that had to go down or be quarantined because of exposure", Johannes Daniel Mostert says.
On Monday, January 10, the Departments of Health and Basic Education met to consider a vaccination plan for eligible people – both adults and learners, since South Africans aged 12 and above can receive the jab.
At the Johannesburg St. Andrew's school, vaccination is already available for students on a voluntary basis but the management says the possibility of a vaccine mandate is being investigated for certain school activities.
"In private schooling it is recommended for the staffing to be vaccinated so that you can give the best kind of service that you can give, Johannes Daniel Mostert explains. For us to mitigate the risk in our risk assessment we are investigating the mandatory vaccination for tours and experiential settings."
Two years into the Covid outbreak, the schooling sector in South Africa has suffered from the loss of teaching and learning time as well as from education personnel losing their lives to COVID-19 complications.