Some farm schools in Nelson Mandela Bay are struggling to cope with the high volume of returning pupils.

Principal of Rocklands Combined School near Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, Andile Mabele says schools must adhere to the COVID-19 compliance ratio of one educator per 20 learners.

Mabele says this is a problem for under-resourced schools like his.

“So a class which used to be accommodated by two educators , now probably it can take 11 educators. So there is a need of educators as well as classrooms – infrastructure – if I may put it that way,” says Mabele.

The school’s toilets do not all have running water. They still rely on pit toilets. Mabele says they were let down by a service provider who only completed four of the required 20 toilets.

“It”s a crisis – it’s really a crisis. I think I will have to opt for another option – probably to take him to court,” says Mabele.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer says the return of more school grades on Monday has gone well.

Schafer says there are just over 800 000 learners in the grades forming part of this week’s phased return to class after the lockdown. She says schools have a Temporary Revised Education Plan to manage social distancing with various grades attending on alternate days and weeks.

“Only two schools were closed for decontamination following confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one school was disrupted by parents who did not want to follow the school’s timetable for grades attending class. We are pleased that things have proceeded smoothly for the most part. We would like to thank school staff who are doing a sterling job in managing the new arrivals and wish them all the best for the coming weeks. We have 76 school days remaining this year and we need to use every single one to its full potential,” says Schafer.

Grade six and 11 learners in Bloemfontein in the Free State say they are happy to be back at school after months of being home due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown that forced schools to close early in March.

Schools reopened in June after lockdown restrictions were eased but had to be closed again in July after concerns over the rise in coronavirus cases in the country.

Learners have expressed their joy of being back at school.

“I’m happy to be back but I’m not so happy because there are lot of changes things like the libraries have stopped functioning. We used to go to the library to find some information that we need and most of that time we find everything online,” says a learner.

“Our toilets are always clean our classes are always secured. We always have things like sanitizers our desks are separated from other people, we wear our masks at all-time,” says another learner.

Western Cape learners return to school: