Covid-19

Botshabelo parents say ‘no’ as all primary school learners return

Botshabelo parents say 'no' as all primary school learners return.
Written by Molefi Sompane

Parents in Botshabelo in the Free State have expressed their anger at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for instructing all primary school learners to return to school at once as from this past Monday (2 August). They say this move will put the lives of children in danger as the country slowly moves past the peak of COVID-19 infections during the third wave.

It was reported earlier that the DBE has called on all provinces to implement this ruling in a bid to return to normalcy as well as catch up with the curriculum. But parents in Botshabelo in the Free State have told Health-e News they don’t agree.

A worried parent, Malerato Masilo, said it remained unknown if all the teachers had been vaccinated or if some children had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Before this can happen, the department needs to ensure that kids are not infected. We are aware that not all teachers have been vaccinated and should all the learners return, this will cause the number of infections to rise. Some schools don’t have enough teachers while others don’t have enough classrooms to accommodate learners,” said Masilo.

Another parent, Teboho Kobeli added: “We do not want to cause the Free State to experience a surge of infections due to our kids. We are saying the sooner everyone gets vaccinated, the sooner normalcy can be experienced”.

Free State Education Spokesperson Howard Ndaba said they are aware of the situation and have allowed schools to do what they can in these trying times.

“We have considered all the schools’ inputs regarding the matter and we have allowed schools to do as they can to ensure that all the learners get a proper education. We understand that the situation at hand is still volatile and COVID-19 is still a barrier,” said Ndaba.

South Africa moved back to an adjusted alert Level 3 lockdown which came into effect on Monday, 26 July 2021. There were three important points included in the regulations with regards to schools: “Primary school learners from Grades R to 7 must return to the traditional and daily attendance timetabling model from 2 August 2021; the social distancing measure in primary schools is reduced to one metre and finally, strict adherence to all health protocols including the wearing of face masks, the washing of hands and hand sanitation must be observed.

Botshabelo: Free State schools bend the rules

However, some school principals in the Free State have indicated their schools will not bring all the learners back at once but will make use of alternate days and times.

The regulations further state that ‘where practical, teaching and learning may be conducted outside the confines of a classroom, provided that all health and safety measures on Covid-19 are adhered to’ and that the movement of pupils must also be minimised during teaching time.

Schools have informed their relevant district offices of their decisions to use their own models instead of the traditional timetable.

As schools try and regroup, it was also announced that contact sports remain suspended since they don’t allow for a physical distance of at least one and a half meters between players. – Health-e News  

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Molefi Sompane