Parents all over the country have responded with mixed reaction to the government’s decision to allow the first group of children to return to school from next month. In less than two weeks, grade 7 and grade 12 pupils will go back to their classrooms but under strict rules. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said no parent would be forced to send their child back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Acacia Park situated in Phillipi East parents have their own reservations about whether or not children should see the inside of a classroom just yet.
Resident and grandmother, Rifqah Japhta said she believed the time frame that the department of education has bestowed on teachers to ready themselves to go back to school after the pandemic hit the shores of the Cape is far too short.
“The question about schools reopening is a bad idea because if you think of our coloured children they never follow any instructions, I can’t foresee them adhering to social distancing or wearing their masks. There are too many children in a class and teachers cannot be expected to ensure the safety of our children,” said Japhta.
An anonymous teacher that resides in the area also questioned the government’s decision to reopen schools.
“The statistics show that there is a higher risk in contracting the virus in the Western Cape in comparison to the other nine provinces. There is a larger amount of people that are succumbing to the virus in our province. Why would we want to put the lives of teachers, students and school governing bodies at risk,” asked the teacher.
However, the children in Phillpi said they would much rather be in school than roaming the streets aimlessly.
“I really miss school! I am supposed to start high school next week. I wish we could back, I miss my teachers, my friends, and I even miss doing homework. Children are running around without masks and police are chasing them, it would be better for us to go back to school,” said a student.
A concerned dad, Simeme Masipele, said it is all good and well that the department has allowed parents to have the option of homeschooling but it hasn’t considered that not all parents are tech-savvy.
“The channels are difficult for us to navigate because we are older and not built for the fourth industrial revolution, we are incapable of taking the measurements that have been provided for us and our children will suffer because of it,” said Masipele.
An anonymous grandmother said she was standing with the decision of the department that schools should reopen.
“As long as the children have their PPE’s and the teachers can ensure social distancing, I am fully supportive of the students going back. They need to be off the street and sending them to school will ensure that,” said the grandmother.