Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that the four-week break announced by the president would ensure that schools prepared for the return of more grades next month.
Government schools will be closed from Monday until 24 August.
Matrics will, however, only go on a break for a week and grade 7s will stay at home for a fortnight.
Minister Motshekga said that while the Basic Education sector had successfully managed to reopen schools in a phased approach, the increase in COVID-19 infections had led to high levels of psychological and emotional stress.
The minister that before the decision to shut down schools again was taken, consultations took place with various organisations in the sector.
They also agreed on extending the academic year beyond 2020.
Motshekga also stressed that medical and science experts believed that pupils were better off at school than in communities and homes where infections were taking place.
She said that the Basic Education system needed to be afforded the opportunity and space to gradually settle in dealing with and operating under the pandemic.
Watch: Schools must not become sites of COVID-19 transmission – Ramaphosa
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