Parliament’s portfolio committee on Basic Education has backed the decision to fully open primary schools from the start of the third term.
The Department of Basic Education over the weekend announced that all primary school learners would return to the classroom on 26 July.
Officials on Tuesday briefed the committee on the preparedness of schools for a possible third wave of COVID-19.
The department has stressed that vigilance was critical and their strategy would be updated according to changes in risks.
The Department’s acting chief director, Faith Kumalo, assured the committee that they would keep a close eye on the health data at all times.
“It is also going to be very important for us in schools to report the number of cases that are reported to us. We are getting some really worrying indications that there may be schools wherein the leadership is telling learners to not tell anyone when they have a case so that they can continue daily attendance.”
Kumalo said that this was irresponsible.
“This is unethical but it also does not provide the sector in the country to have a good and best sense for what is happening in our own schools so that we can begin then to put in the differentiated strategy that we need to do.
“Importantly, it robs us of the opportunity to trigger the response from the Department of Health in terms of contact tracing, in terms of looking at any gaps like there may be n how we handle our environment and screening and so on and so forth.”
The Department of Basic Education’s Granville Whittle said that in preparation for the full return of primary schools, there would be weekly one-on-one meetings with education officials in every province to check up on preparedness.
“In terms of monitoring school readiness, we will focus specifically on infrastructure of facilities, classrooms, etc, whether schools have adequate water in place, sanitation facilities, we check on the basic hygiene and sanitation packages, provision of masks and sanitisers.”
Whittle said that a specific focus had been placed on special schools.
“Because of the vulnerabilities of the learners in those schools, since we are increasing the number of learners that would come to school, we’re also working with provinces to increase the number of thermometers that are available so that you don’t have bottlenecks in the morning, the screening stations and learner transport will have to be an important focus, the school nutrition programme…”
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Skeem Saam actor and businessman Clement Maosa whose always been vocal about losing his parents at a very young age recently took to social media to share a snap of his birth parents on the day they celebrated their engagement.
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