Cape Town – No major challenges or disruptions were reported at schools on Tuesday when thousands of Grade 7 pupils returned to their desks after a two- week recess, and according to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) only four schools were closed due to decontamination on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the WCED welcomed back all the grades that have returned.
“We are already full steam ahead in terms of our support for our Grade 12 pupils, with approximately 70% of Grade 12 pupils in attendance,” Hammond said.
She said due to the lockdown, the WCED and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) have worked hard to ensure that more resources were available to all Grade 12s for self-study.
The DBE has appealed to parents and communities to protect schools against disruptions as Grade 7 pupils resumed their lessons.
DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they were aware of attempts made by some members of school governing bodies around the country to close schools and disrupt learning.
The National Association of School Governing Bodies general secretary Matakanya Matakanye said the association has welcomed the return of Grade 7 pupils to the schools despite dissatisfaction about the health and safety of the pupils and teachers.
“We would love to call upon the department to ensure health and safety is observed in our schools so that quality teaching and learning take place, also replacement of teachers with underlying conditions is urgent.”
Educators Union of SA provincial chairperson André de Bruyn reiterated that all schools should be closed until the period of infections has passed.
“We are pushing children into schools and making people believe that the numbers are going down. The theory is actually that only selective testing is done.”
He said in the province tests were done on doctors’ referrals and for people over 55 years, saying of course it would seem as if it was safe for children to go to school.
ANC deputy chief whip in the legislature and education spokesperson Khalid Sayed, said: “We trust that the bottlenecks which were compromising safe learning have now been addressed.”