Gauteng schools

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Schools latest: Here’s how children will return to classrooms in Gauteng

The plan to get hundreds of thousands of learners – starting with those in Grades 7 and 12 – back to school in Gauteng was revealed on Thursday.

Gauteng schools

Image via Adobe

The Gauteng Provincial Government has outlined its plans to get children back to school in a safe and sanitary manner. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed earlier this week that she wants learners to return to class by 1 June, starting with Grade 7 and Grade 12 pupils.

Challenges ahead Gauteng’s Education Department

Her plans may have come in for some criticism, but officials in Gauteng are making all the necessary provisions to ensure that schools can operate in this new, socially distanced world of ours. One of the major sticking points is regulating class sizes, but Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says teachers will have a formula to work with.

“The department has developed guidelines that take all assumptions of what is adequate social distancing into consideration. Our rules include different configurations depending on furniture and square meterage in class.”

“This was piloted in two schools, and educational facilities will have to configure these arrangements by applying the guidelines then submitting a plan for approval at district level.”

Panyaza Lesufi

How Gauteng will bring its children back to school:

The minimum requirements

  • The learners are to be spread in a multiple number of classes across the school.
  • Schools may use lower grade teachers to substitute Grade 12 teachers who are absent and where there is a shortage.
  • All schools will provide proof of a certificate to confirm that cleaning and disinfection was done based on a checklist.

Keeping things clean in Gauteng

  • A sum of R15 432 has been given to schools for the appointment of local capacity to clean the schools.
  • Bidvest, meanwhile, are providing funding to help a further 577 educational facilities meet the hygiene standards.
  • Number of over 60-year olds and staff with comorbidities must work from home.

Security measures for movement within schools

  • Schools must ensure they use one entry and exit point. All areas “out of bounds” areas should be cordoned off using tape.
  • Security should only allow learners who are wearing masks to enter the gate.
  • Learners with no mask must be provided with a surgical mask before entering school grounds

Gauteng schools will screen students, teachers and others

  • Learners and teachers must have their temperature checked and if normal, proceeds to the screening point.
  • If the screening questions indicates there are no risks and the temperature is below 38°C, the learner proceeds to enter the building.
  • If over 38°C, the learner or the teacher must be accommodated in the isolation room until the next of kin arrives.

Keeping a distance

  • All learners and staff must be geared with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs). All persons must remain at least two-metres away from each other.
  • Lunch will happen at different times. There will be soap and sanitiser at the entrance of serving areas. Pupils will wash hands before and after eating. No sharing of eating utensils will be allowed amongst the learners.
  • The number of children in each class must be determined by a formula, which considers the length and width of rooms, chairs and desks.

Monitoring travel to school in Gauteng

  • Buses collect approx 160 000 learners from identified pick-up points to school and back, operating at 70% capacity.
  • Upon entering the bus, learners will use the hand sanitizer at the entrance and proceed to allocated seats.
  • Those with high temperature will not embark but details will be taken and parents will be contacted.

Other considerations include:

  • Platooning – where students attend class at different times – may be implemented when all grades are back to school.
  • As well as lunches, other school breaks should be staggered to accommodate social distancing.
  • There will be a reshuffling of subjects and class allocation to teachers.