The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) wants learners back in classrooms on a daily basis.
In a bid to create space for social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, pupils have been subjected to rotational learning, effectively halving class sizes by getting children to skip days.
The commission believes this will have a long-term negative impact and it wants an urgent meeting government over the matter.
The commission has already written to government about returning children to schools on a more regular and consistent basis.
Commissioner Andre Gaum on Monday said the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19 had stated ‘the harms of learners attending school on a rotational basis – specifically the severe cognitive, nutritional, and psychosocial costs – exceeded the benefits of reduced COVID-19 infections from smaller class sizes.’
He said they understood 86% of primary schools in the Western Cape had already applied to continue with rotational timetables next year.
The HRC believes the social distancing directive compromises the ability of primary schools to return to normal teaching and learning despite reduced infection rates.