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Scholars’ mental strength will be key as more grades return to school

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Sleep consultant Jolandi Becker says it is important to make sure that children are mentally prepared for changes, as more of them head back to school on Monday, following the easing of lockdown regulations.

Becker says many children are battling to adapt to the new normal that the coronavirus has ushered in. Learners in most grades will go back to school on Monday after closing for a second time at the end of July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of Early Childhood Development Centres are also expected to open their doors.

Becker says it’s normal for some children to experience separation anxiety.

“We all were very stressed having to clean, take care of the kids and still work and do homeschooling, and that was a lot of pressure, and I think a lot of people were quite excited that they could have the break of sending their children to school, even if it’s just for half a day. But that change has a very big impact on our children and that change can definitely trigger separation anxiety and have an emotional impact on our children, that they were with us all the time and not they’re not with us anymore.”

COVID-19 effect 

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has warned that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be with schools for at least three years.

She says although they have trimmed down the curriculum, learners will only finish about 70% of the work they are supposed to do this year.

The remaining 30% will be incorporated into next year’s curriculum, and the work not finished in 2021 will be carried over to 2022.

Motsekga says they plan to have the curriculum back to normal in three years’ time, adding that it would have been a catastrophe if the school year was completely lost.

“Honestly, it would have been catastrophic. For me, it’s even catastrophic as it is to have … especially poor kids who do not have access to reading materials and ICT access at home. Since March up to now, they have not been going to school. For me, it’s a disaster. Even when we had trimmed the curriculum we still won’t be able to claw back what we lost. So, it’s a disaster. So, I think we should claw back the little that we can.

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