More pre-schools are expected to open following the Department of Social Development publishing guidelines on the Phased Return of Children to Early Child Development (ECD) centres.

Last week, Minister Lindiwe Zulu lost a court case resulting in the opening of private ECD centres.

Zulu announced on Monday that only 1 400 ECD centres had been verified to meet the criteria to open. 

Thousands of children have been at home after schools and ECD centres were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many learners have been able to get back to school, the court only forced the government’s hand last week, on early childhood development centres.

Some parents on the other hand have opted to take their children out of pre-school.

One parent says she has taken her child out because it is impossible to expect her 4 year old to observe protocols.

“It’s mainly for the reasons of safety. I have all faith in the school and I know they will take necessary precautions however, my child is only four-years-old and as much as I speak to him and make him aware of what’s going on he is merely a child who will for example either share lunch or mask, its something that’s bound to happen.”

Minister Lindiwe Zulu speaks on reopening of Early Childhood Development centres:

 

Some Grade R parents have also opted to do the same, which has financially impacted a number of ECDs. 

“It’s very hard when something like this happens and we start off a year with 60 children for example and then we are allowed to go back to school and we now left with 30 children for example, it takes a huge toll on an owner of the school and a principal.”

The Department of Social Development has gazetted regulations on the re-opening of ECD centres. The regulations also have directions on safety protocols to be followed such as screening, sanitising, disinfecting, wearing masks for children over two years, and social distancing.

The department says so far 18 632 facilities did self-assessment through filling forms provided on the department’s website, but the department has only verified 1 481 that are ready.

Zulu says, “Of this number 5 613 indicated they can comply and be ready for re-opening while 6 030 will require support to operate under the current directions. Of the 9 881 centres that completed the assessment 1 481 were verified by the department and meet compliance requirements.”

She emphasised that contrary to popular belief – they were keen on ECD centres opening as they were mainly businesses run by women. 

She has also urged parents, teachers and everyone involved to do their best in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calls are growing for schools to close

SA’s COVID-19 death toll increases to 4 172

As of today, a cumulative total of 287 796 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa have been reported.

The total number of tests conducted to date is 2 194 624 with 40 233 new tests conducted since the last report.

A further 93 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported – 6 from KwaZulu-Natal, 11 from Mpumalanga, 16 from the Free State, 37 from Western Cape and 23 from Eastern Cape.

This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 4 172.

The number of recoveries is 138 241, which translates to a recovery rate of 48%.