Confusion as schools reopen

Two Grade 12s were sent home from Bernardino Heights High School

Confusion over the reopening of schools saw some schools in the northern suburbs close or have no more than 10 pupils return on Monday.

Despite Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s last minute announcement that schools across the country would reopen next week and not this week, as originally planned, the Western Cape Education Department told schools to reopen on Monday.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said reports indicated that 98% of schools in the province had reopened on Monday, while 2% would undergo a deep clean after reported Covid 19 cases.

She said R280 million had been spent on personal protective equipment and cleaning materials, including two masks per pupil and teacher, over 7 000 non-contact digital thermometers for the screening process and hand sanitisers, liquid soap, disinfectant and bleach.

“We understand that we are operating within uncertain and confusing times. However, we have remained firm on our position that Western Cape schools are to open today as always planned and communicated to schools, and in accordance with the Gazette promulgated last week by Minister Motshekga,”  Ms Hammond said on Monday.

She added that if parents wished to keep their children home it was their decision but if children wanted to return “it’s their right to do so”.

 Protea Heights Academy in Brackenfell had more than 80% of their Grade 12 pupils return on Monday. Acting principal Andrea Coetzer said with the proper safety measures in place and the “help from teachers on the front lines,” the school was ready to prepare pupils for their annual National Senior Certificate examinations.

 Scottsdene High School had no pupils arriving for school but all the teachers were there. Principal Peter Links said he had contacted parents to send their children to school as they had already missed out on too much schoolwork.

 “Teachers are here and we are ready to start but our kids are not showing up,” he said.

 Bernadino Heights welcomed back two only two matrics who were then sent home.

Only eight Grade 7 pupils returned to Kuils River Primary School and three to Northpine Primary School. They were also sent home.

Soneike High School principal Ronel Baker said teachers would until all matrics returned to school before they started working, so no one had to catch up.

 Parkdene Primary School welcomed 70% of its pupils while the gates at Watsonia Primary remained shut.

 Andrew Demas from Scottsville said he would be keeping his Grade 7 daughter home while Covid 19 cases were on the rise.