School leaders’ responsibilities for ensuring safe schools for teaching and learning during COVID-19




School leaders, A safe environment, Responsibilities, ABCs of health, Safety, Teachers and learners


The outbreak of the coronavirus disease was declared an international public health emergency as the virus spread across many countries and territories. Due to the rapid rate the virus was spreading, the South African president announced the closure of schools in March 2020. The protection of children and teachers was incredibly important. Precautions were necessary to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in school settings; however, care had to be taken to avoid stigmatising students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus. With a phased-in approach to grades returning to school, school leaders had to ensure that their environment was safe, conducive, welcoming, respectful, inclusive and supportive at all times. A qualitative case study, involving individual interviews with principals, was conducted using the Health Theoretical Framework of attitudes, behaviours and communication (ABCs) to investigate how school leaders were ensuring a safe and conducive environment for teachers and learners. The findings highlighted establishing an emergency School Management Team to be the COVID-19 point of contact, implementing social distancing, frequent sanitising, mask-wearing, daily screening, encouraging flexible school times and promoting the outdoor classroom. Staff with comorbidities were assigned noncontact duties.


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How to Cite

Venketsamy, R., & Hu, Z. (2022). School leaders’ responsibilities for ensuring safe schools for teaching and learning during COVID-19. Perspectives in Education, 40(2), 3–16.



Research articles