In light of a government directive allowing learners from pre-primary to grade 3 to resume classes yesterday, New Era visited some schools in Keetmanshoop to establish their preparedness for the face-to-face learning amid the seismic pandemic.
Under phase 2 of the education ministry reopening plan, only pre-primary and lower primary learners were scheduled to start face-to-face classes yesterday, while grade 7 and 9 pupils will resume on 20 July.
The final group, which is made up of grade 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 will resume contact classes on 3 August.
Perpetua Hinda, the acting principal of Krönlein Primary School, said 191 out of 700 learners reported for classes yesterday.
The teacher also said the low turn-up on the first day could be that jittery parents want to ascertain how well schools are handling the virus situation, before sending their children to school.
In terms of preparedness, Hinda said teachers and learners are being screened for high body temperatures at entry points at the school whilst the wearing of face masks is mandatory and that the school provide masks to learners who turn up without wearing one. “We furthermore put in place hand sanitisers and tippy-taps at strategic points as prescribed measures to curb further spread of the coronavirus,” she emphasised.
The principal furthermore explained that learners are having meals in classrooms during break time under teacher supervision and that they are also allowed to go out for physical exercises or relaxation but within prescribed social distance regulations.
“Those parents who preferred to keep their children at home, for now, will be provided with study materials as well as homework/assignments until such time they decide to allow the learners to return to school,” Hinda explained.
She, however, suggested parents should bring their kids in once a week for purposes of evaluating their ongoing performance at home.
Addressing the psychological consequences Covid-19 might bring about, she said teachers were having sessions with a social worker yesterday to help them cope with the pandemic and also to counsel learners in cases of panic.
Hinda also expressed hope that the situation would return to normal in the long run, enabling the unhindered provision of education to learners.
Meanwhile, at Fairyland Day Care Centre, which caters for pre-primary learners, it was commendable to find thermo guns, sign-in registers and hand sanitisers at the entrance of the facility.
“As per our plan, the first group of kids were supposed to come in on Monday, but with the national directive that we could only open yesterday some parents might be left in the dark, hence the low turn-up on the first day,” explained Sister Imelda Kooper, the principal of the centre.
She added a total of 91 learners have been divided into two groups receiving face-to-face learning every second consecutive day as a means to maintain social distance in the classroom situation.
She said parents and teachers are screened daily before entering the premises and that learners are making use of hand sanitisers and tippy-taps for purposes of hygiene under teacher supervision.
“These youngsters are having break times in class and are only allowed outside on school grounds if under supervision in order to ensure social distancing,” Kooper said.