Fear Grows as Covid-19 spread in Schools

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The Government and the Department of Basic Education believe it’s a good idea to open the schools. The Grade 12s and Grade 7s have been going to school since the 8th of June. Ever since, some principals and teachers have voiced out their concerns and fears as they were forced to report back to school. As children came back to school they had to adjust to a new way of living. It was not easy and teachers had to assist each other in some classes to ensure that learning was not disrupted and that children are kept to Covid-19 regulations. This is not easy for everyone.

Two of the schools in Lawley 2 had to close due to cases of coronavirus infections. Lawley Primary School closed first and 2 weeks later Lawley Secondary School closed. This is the reality and even those who may have not believed in the existence of the virus, can see now that it exists amongst the people we live with. Parents’ feared for their children coming into contact with the virus at school.

“The fact that we are not sure if our children are infected is scary. The clinics don’t check unless one has symptoms of the virus. We know that there are people who found out they had the virus after testing, and showed no symptoms. I’m scared for my child but there’s nothing I can do. I will not be able to assist her if she stays at home. Government must just cancel this academic year and let children start afresh next year.” said Nhlanhla, a mother of a Grade 6 learner.

A Grade 12  learner at Thuto-lefa asked, “Is it really true that Lawley is a hot spot for the virus?” after their school was closed. Some received the message and others were turned back at the school gate and told to come back on Thursday.

Parents are worried and learners are panicking. How are they expected to sit in class and focus as if nothing is happening? How are they expected to continue learning and teaching while a colleague and teacher is not at school because of the virus? Emotionally and psychologically what is the government saying about its people? The unfairness of being in class,and expected to perform, is Ramophosa not aware of the cry from all teachers and learners who are pleading for closure of the schools until the pandemic is over? After an outcry from different civil society groups, on 23 July 2020, Ramaphosa announced that public schools will be going on a break while private schools continue with learning. This is problematic as many have called for schools to re-open after the peak. It is clear that the Government does not want to listen to the concerned of learners, parents, teachers and civil society groups.

This article was submitted on 16 July 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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