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NC schools will be ready for pupils to return on June 1 – dept

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The MEC for Education, Mac Jack, accompanied by teacher unions and school principals, assessed the readiness of schools in the Province on Wednesday.

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education has stated that all government schools in the Province will be ready for the return of Grade 7 and 12 pupils on Monday, June 1.

The MEC for Education, Mac Jack, accompanied by teacher unions and school principals, assessed the readiness of schools in the Province on Wednesday.

During an oversight visit, the principal of Olympic Primary School in Kimberley indicated that they were in the process of finalising all preparations for Monday.

Olympic Primary was among the schools in the Province that was badly vandalised during the lockdown period. Vandals damaged the ablution facility at the school and also stole taps

“The disinfection of the school has been completed and we have a certificate of proof. The school has also received personal protective equipment, which arrived today (Wednesday). This includes 317 face masks for pupils, 44 protective face shields, liquid soap, sanitiser and one digital thermometer. We have not yet received any surgical gloves. We are also in the process of fixing the boys’ toilet as there was a break-in and the basin was broken and water taps stolen. We have a contractor currently on site attending to that problem. The contractor will complete the work on Friday,” said Jack.

Schools will have sufficient space. Picture: Danie van der Lith

He said the school had sufficient space for Grade 7 pupils who will be making their way to classrooms on Monday, June 1.

“We have a total number of 111 Grade 7 pupils. We have identified eight classrooms where lessons will take place. Each classroom will accommodate about 15 pupils. We will use the sick bay as an isolation room in case a  pupil or teacher needs to self-isolate.”

Jack indicated that he was still waiting for the department to appoint screeners for the school.

“We have five permanent cleaners appointed at this school. Only three of those five employees will be working with the six screeners who still  need to be appointed by the department. The screeners will work with the cleaners to ensure they clean and sanitise the classrooms once the school day is over,” he said.

Jack indicated that screeners were also still undergoing training but gave the reassurance that they would be at their posts on Monday.

The spokesperson for the Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie (SAOU), Henk Brand, said the preparations by the department to get schools ready had been rushed.

The boys’ toilet as there was a break-in and the basin was broken and water taps stolen. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“Everything is currently being finalised in haste. There are certain non-negotiable items that cannot be excluded in order for schools to reopen. The schools have indicated that they were sanitised and are ready, however, the question remains whether they have the capacity to ensure social distancing. Also, what is concerning is whether the items they received will be sufficient to last the entire year or whether it will again be a struggle to get sanitisers and liquid soap further down the line. We cannot have certain schools continue with learning while others are left behind. Teachers are ready to return to the classrooms but we cannot expose them if everything is not in order from the side of the department,” said Brand.

The department will, during a media conference on Thursday, indicate the outcome of assessments done at schools in other districts in the Province.