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Smooth return to school for Grade 7s

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There were no major challenges or incidents when Grade 7 pupils returned to school the Department of Education said.

File image. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency

NO MAJOR challenges or incidents were reported at Northern Cape schools on Tuesday when thousands of Grade 7 learners returned to their desks after a two-week recess.

This is according to the provincial Department of Education, which stated that the first day of the reopening of schools for Grade 7 pupils concluded smoothly on Tuesday.

Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said that more than 37 000 Grade 12 and Grade 7 pupils are now back at school.

“A total of 37 450 learners in grades 7 and 12 have returned to their various schools in the Province, with the next cluster of grades returning on August 24.

“Since the initial reopening of schools on June 8, 2020, 122 schools in the Province have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus far, 134 educators and 65 learners have tested positive for Covid-19 in our schools,” added Van der Merwe.

He said the department was working “relentlessly” to ensure that the academic year was saved, especially for Grade 12 pupils.

“We have identified seven centres across the Province where approximately 3 000 Grade 12 learners will be incubated for a period of three to four months. All educators and learners will receive personal protective equipment and will be subjected to regular screening and testing for the duration of the camp. The incubation camps are necessary to ensure that learners are well prepared and ready for the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.

“These camps will commence on August 14, 2020 with registration and weekend orientation and formal lessons will commence on August 17, 2020. The camps will function as normal schools where teaching, learning and assessments will be prioritised. We are confident that these interventions will contribute positively to an improved pass rate in the National Senior Certificate examinations.”

Van der Merwe commended teachers, pupils and their parents for their efforts to ensure that learning continued during the pandemic.

“We would also like to express a word of appreciation especially to our parents and learners for their commitment towards education. It is important for learners to attend school and we have put the necessary systems and precautionary measures in place to ensure their health and safety.

“Our educators have been at the forefront and relentless in their efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in our schools, and for that we are very grateful.

“We will continue to provide our unwavering support to all our schools as we navigate through this difficult period,” said Van der Merwe.