When the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga announced that the schools will be reopening on 1 June for Gr 7 and 12 learners, social media blew up with with concerned parents’ views and opinions.
“The National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet have approved the reopening of schools as of June 1, 2020. Independent and public ordinary schools will open even in the metropolitan areas. Every school must adhere and observe the health and safety protocols that will be put in place,” said Angie Motshekga.
She continued by saying that the necessary COVID-19 essentials are being done in all the provinces.
“The delivery of the COVID-19 Essentials is being done in all provinces to ensure that safe places. The items regarded as essential are sanitisers, masks, water and sanitation and of course the schools will be cleaned and most are being cleaned as we speak.”
One of the concerns that was brought up was public transport. Some children have gone as far to say that it is their lives that are at risk and that they are scared to make use of public transport or school buses.
According to Angie Motshekga, the Department of Basic Education is working with the Department of Transport to ensure that transport will be safe and all protocols to be followed to ensure the safety of the children.
The guidelines being: everybody to sanitise hands on entering of bus, manage distance between learners in the bus and compulsory wearing of masks throughout the school day, starting before boarding transport.
This only seems that there should be a monitoring teacher on the bus with the children but most children in rural areas make use of taxis.
“Life has to move on,” she said.
Parents had different views and it seemed like two groups formed; the going back to school group and the not going back to school group.
It is understandable that parents are upset about the ongoing developments. Arguments were made and both sides had valid reasons.
Schools have rules regarding hair, for example, but one cannot go to the hairdresser for a quick snip.
Other arguments were that one cannot attend church or go to a restaurant but it is safe for children to return to school.
One argument even suggested that the government should lead by example and attend meeting at parliament again before sending children back to school.
The Bulletin spoke to Mr Heese, the headmaster of Laerskool Kruinpark and he said the following:
“At Laerskool Kruipnark we understand the parents concerns regarding the reopening of schools.
We also understand that the children’s health is and always will be our primary concern.
We are doing everything the Department of Education is expecting of us but as going the extra mile is in our nature at Laerskool Kruinpark, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our learners and teachers.
We have already started to prepare for the reopening of the school. The school will be sanitised by us if it is not done by the Department of Education. All necessary protocols will be in place to welcome back the Gr 7s and the personnel.
Our teachers’ efforts do not go by unseen. They have been ensuring that each and every child is up to date with their schoolwork during the lockdown.
Learners with high risk medical conditions and learners who are not returning to school yet will be accommodated accordingly. This will be done through online education and parents will be able to pick up the schoolwork until they are ready to return to school.
I would like to comfort our parents again by saying that the safety of their children and the safety of our teachers is our top priority.”
Please send your comments on whether your child/ren will be returning to school or not.