Following the declaration of a state of national disaster to contain the spread of Covid-19, operators of early childhood development (ECD) programmes across SA were instructed to close on March 18. The closure of ECD programmes at the time was probably well understood, but the process of reopening has been both confusing and contentious.

The Pretoria high court ruled on July 6 that ECD programmes could resume immediately, subject to meeting safety standards. Yet by the end of July, the sector was operating at less than a quarter of its pre-lockdown levels...

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