On Monday, 8 June the Department of Education finally gave the go-ahead and schools were allowed to reopen for grade 7 – and 12 learners after an extended “holiday” of almost 12 weeks.
The health and safety guidelines for the reopening of schools state that all staff and learners must have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing of 1.5 metres must be adhered to and regular screening must take place.
Piet Retief Primary School made sure that social distancing was being enforced even before learners entered the school grounds. Learners were screened and sanitised and escorted to their classrooms. Their bathrooms were equipped with soap and sanitiser. Learners have to carry emergency contact details at all times. The school was properly cleaned and sanitised before opening. Only about 69% of learners showed up for class, as some parents preferred to continue their children’s education via the lessons on Google Classrooms.
Piet Retief High School ensured they also adhered to all the PPE and social distancing regulations upon opening. The grade 12 learners were busy with their schoolwork during the nationwide lockdown to ensure they didn’t fall behind. The high school has also provided learners in the other grades with an internet hotspot and a classroom (if needed) where they can download their schoolwork as all of their lessons are available online.
At Ngema Primary School, all learners were informed about COVID-19. They were screened and sanitised and all had to wear masks. Social distancing was also enforced. Not all of the grade 7 learners did return for the start of school.
At Alpha and Omega School, learners had to wear masks, they were screened, their hands were sanitised and they had to go through the sanitising booth upon entering. The school ensured that markers were placed in classes and on the playground to enforce social distancing.
Learners that live in Swaziland are now able to cross the border to return to school, however special permits were needed. For more information the border can be contacted on 017 826 1019.
The following grades are set to open on Monday, 6 July:
Early Childhood Development(Grade R and lower), Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 6, Grade 10, Grade 11. School of Skills years 2 and 3, Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities(SID) grades R, 1, 2, 3 and 6 and special care centres for Learners with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities(LSPID) years 1-3.
On Monday, 3 August these grades are set to open:
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 8, Grade 9, School of Skills year 1 and Schools for Learners with SID grades 4 and 5.
All school events such as sport, choir rehearsals and cultural festivals remain suspended until determined by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.
The May/June examination for the Senior Certificate and the National Senior Certificate will be administered in November/December 2020, unless unforeseen circumstances occur, in which instance the minister shall make the necessary determination.
A maximum of 33% of university students will be allowed to return to campuses, delivery sites and residences on condition that they can be safely accommodated. This will include: Students in the final year of their programmes, who are on a path to graduating in 2020. Final year students who require access to laboratories, technical equipment, data, connectivity and access to residence and private accommodation should return. Students in all years of study that require clinical training in their programmes (provided that the clinical training platforms have sufficient space and can accommodate them while adhering to the safety protocols) are allowed to return. Post graduate students who require laboratory equipment and other technical equipment to undertake their studies, may also return.
We wish all learners and educators good luck in this “new normal”.
Thank you to those responsible at schools for ensuring the safety of all staff and pupils.