Naptosa president, Basil Manuel is concerned with the percentage of learners who have not returned to school, but he has commended schools for coping during this time. He said Naptosa supports the reopening of schools, as education is a basic right.
“We actually support the view of UNICEF, that we have to open schools at some stage. They can’t remain closed but of course the conditions need to be right in order to do so,”
Manuel said schools and teachers were doing their best to make sure that learners feel prepared for their final exams. Some schools have introduced weekend classes and have been helping learners with revision before exams officially start.
However, schools are still facing challenges, even with the department’s use of a rotational timetable and other measures that have been introduced.
“Social distancing is a real challenge. Not so much in the classes but outside and when the learners leave school. That has been a constant challenge.”
“There are marvels as well, where children have fallen into the pattern of hand washing. They’ve fallen into the pattern of standing in certain lines and they’ve fallen into the pattern of cleaning their desks”
Even with these improvements, Manuel said more needed to be done as schools were facing issues with infrastructure and water supply.
Manuel said despite some schools in the Eastern Cape reporting infections, there have been no major outbreaks in most schools since they reopened.
Recently, Eastern Cape Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba was concerned that the Eastern Cape could face a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
The province had been experiencing outbreaks in schools mainly on the border of the Free State. This included 102 learners at Ethembeni High school in the Eastern Cape who tested postive for Covid-19.
Gomba said she was pleased that the learners had all recovered, but she was concerned about a rise in cases in surrounding schools.
She said Burgersdorp had seen a rise in cases in at least four more schools, while Middelburg had 192 active cases. Out of the 192 cases recorded at the school, two people lost their lives after contracting the virus.
“There are further positive cases in three other schools in Aliwal North and in Sterkspruit at one school and these fires are spreading really fast.”
Manuel said schools were just a representation of society, as many schools have been showing a decline in cases since the national rate of infections has decreased.
“The days of schools sporadically closing seem to have come to a halt. We hardly ever in the last month have seen schools closing. Rather we have seen isolated incidents, there are children falling ill. The norm is that it has really really decreased”
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé