The department says it is on track to welcome back the remaining pupils.
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education has indicated that it is on track to welcome back pupils from the remaining nine school grades that are to be phased in on Monday.
Pupils in grades R, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 11 will return to the classroom on Monday following the announcement last month by President Cyril Ramaphosa that schools should close for four weeks to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections.
Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Lehuma Ntuane said yesterday that the department was prepared for the return of the remaining grades.
“We started delivering personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitisers and liquid soap to schools on August 17, 2020. We are still in the process of making deliveries and will continue to deliver PPEs over the weekend. These deliveries are only to top-up supplies, as the required stock is already at schools,” said Ntuane.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial secretary, Senzo Mpalala, said the teacher unions would have a clearer picture of the situation when schooling returned on Monday.
“By the look of things, it appears the department has taken all measures to ensure that pupils and educators, as well as other staff, are able to return to school. Most educators have also indicated that the necessary arrangements have been made to receive pupils back in class.
“We have also noticed that the attitude and fear of parents about sending their children back to school has subsided over the past weeks. The attendance of the grade 7 and 12 pupils is also an indication that most parents have made peace about sending their children to school. Most schools have been adhering to Covid-19 regulations and there have been no reports of schools having to close after the grade 12s, followed by the grade 7s, returned,” said Mpalala.
He added that the coming week would indicate whether all protocols had been followed and adhered to.
Mpalala said that the new system that schools had adopted would also ensure that no one was unnecessarily exposed to the virus.
“The department has introduced the platooning system where grades will attend school on rotational days. That is also an attempt to curb infections and to ensure that schools are not overcrowded. The curriculum is also being relooked at in order to ensure that pupils are not bombarded with schoolwork.
“We are also pleased that the department is not only focusing on the physical health of pupils but also their mental health. We need children who will be able to focus and not drown in schoolwork. This situation is no one’s fault but we must find a safe way of living in these conditions” said Mpalala.