Pressure mounts as schools re-open

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 5, 2020

Mahikeng: The COVID 19 pandemic continues to rage on as numbers of infections increase in South Africa. Though the country has been lauded as one of the best in Africa in terms of the mitigation of the virus within its borders; tensions continue to mount in many sectors of society.

The return of learners to school has been met with different views from unions, civil society groups, parents, teachers, learners and communities at large. This resulted in the amendments to the phased approach initially announced by the Department of Basic Education.

In light of this, the department announced that only grade R, 6 and 11 will be allowed to return to facilities. This was adding to the grade 7 and 12 that returned at the beginning of June.

“We will adjust the re-opening phases based on the risk-adjusted strategy which is a considered attempt to balance our approach to school re-opening taking into account all factors that affect the work we do. We are guided in this by an observation of the rising numbers of community transmissions throughout the country.  We recognize that schools are based in communities and learners live in the same affected communities and therefore a careful balancing act must be maintained,” said Minister Angie Motshekga.

The new calendar will see the school year extended until December 15 with only seven days of school holidays, this to try rescue the already compromised academic year. Learners and teachers who have been at home since March are starting to feel the pressure. The reality being that the uncertainty surrounding the corona virus has caused confusion on what and how this should work.

This as the department has recorded over 100 cases in its schools this includes teachers, learners and school management.The rest of the grades are expected to be phased during the month of July in a differentiated approach within the stipulated time frames as per the gazette of June 29 as published by the Minister.

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