Grade 12 learners across the country are back in class after a one week break. Announcing the closure two weeks ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the reopening of schools will be phased in.
Teaching and learning for Grade 12 learners in schools around Mbombela and surrounding areas resumed without major challenges after a week’s break. Learners reported for the first day of schooling, although in some school only 50% were present.
Teaching and learning continued smoothly for the Grade 12 learners at Cyril Clarke in Matafin near Mbombela.
Close to 80 of the 150 learners reported for school following the break. Most of the learners said they are happy to be back at school. They say studying at their own at home without a teacher is difficult. Most of them are adamant they will pass despite the challenges arising from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a private boarding school, Metropolitan College in White River learners were asked to go home following rumours of COVID-19 positive cases. Both those who stay at the hostel and day scholars left the school in the morning.
They said the school director told them to go home for two weeks. Some are concerned about the situation.
“We heard rumours about cases. We don’t know if it’s finalised. That’s why they are making us to leave, but the director has spoken this morning saying it’s rumours but we don’t believe it’s rumours.”
Director of Metropolitan College, Colbert Kouatcho refuted the claims that the school has positive cases. According to Kouatcho, the school decided to send the learners home after rumours spread of COVID-19 cases after the school was fumigated, as a precautionary measure.
“It happened that we sent a message to parents saying that we were going to fumigate the school, rumours started going around that the school was being fumigated because of a positive case and as a responsible institution, we can only confirm that there is a case if we have something in writing. People can’t just say there is a positive case because we are fumigating.”
As SABC’s Tumelo Machogo reports all boarding scholars left the school property on Monday:
Spokesperson of the Department of Education in Mpumalanga Gerald Sambo says schools started without any major challenges. Sambo urged parents to allow learners to return to school.
“Learners are back at school. Teaching and learning are taking place in those instances where learners have not returned to school. We call on parents to make sure they return the learners back to school. We are optimistic that everything will be back to normal. We are going to monitor the situation on the ground to make sure that schooling carries on smoothly.”
The Education Department has pleaded with the learners and teachers to observe the COVID-19 regulations to ensure that teaching and learning are not further disrupted.
Parents receive conflicting messages on the resumption of classes in Mpumalanga:
In Free State, the National Congress of School Governing Bodies has called for the Department of Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga to take all the matric learners to an early study camp.
The organisation says the camp will help learners prepare for their final examinations.
The National Congress of School Governing Bodies is optimistic that the 2020 academic year can be saved and produce the required matric results.
The organisation’s Secretary General Thabang Motloung says its better if they arrange camp for matriculates for the entire country.
“It’s better if they can arrange the camps for all matriculates … the entire countrywide (sic), whereby the learners will be staying there and also teachers and non-teaching staff. Because it’s going to be better for them. Then our position is clear. We still call on the Department of Basic Education to arrange camps for the learners.”
Free State Education Department says there are plans already in place to have the matric learners in camps.
Department spokesperson is Howard Ndaba, “Even before the school break, we were busy planning to make sure that we camp these learners. Those schools that have hostels have already started and we are making sure that those learners who are doing Grade 12 will be camped and even those schools that don’t have hostel will be doing the school-based camps at our schools, to ensure that learners receive adequate tuition to prepare them to write their exams.”
KwaZulu-Natal’s education department says the first day of school for Grade 12 learners was off to a good start. The department says 1 766 staff members and three-hundred and seventy-four learners have been infected with coronavirus. But it says those challenges did not hamper another bid to try and complete the 2020 academic year.
No major incidents have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal:
Executive Director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa Basil Manuel weighs in: