Parents are looking for answers on the type of safety measures that will be put in place when their children return to school on June 1. Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has reaffirmed that several measures will be implemented ahead of the pupils’ return. These include two masks supplied to each child, hand sanitisers and soaps will be made available to schools too and strict rules for entering the premises.
This information was relayed during a Parliamentary Q&A session on May 27, and follows Motshekga’s decision to resume school for Grade 7 and 12 students. She added that the masks would be replenished later in the year in case of damage or loss.
Strict rules, like no pupil be allowed to enter the school premises without a mask and each school be required to check temperatures have to be adhered to.
Hand sanitisers will be available for use by students in each classroom, and soap and water will be provided where sanitiser is not. Sanitisers will also be used to clean surfaces on a daily basis, and extra precautions will be implemented for schools in hotspot areas.
“The strict instruction given by (the Department of) Health is that priority number one is to ensure that schools are not centres of infection. Priority two is that they don’t spread infections. These are the priorities that were put in place before we even began talking about saving the (academic) year,” Motshegka said.
“This is why there are going to be strict protocols from when students first enter the gates. There will be strict testing and if a school does not have a thermometer it will not operate,” she added. “It has not demarcated safe distances (between learners) it will not operate. If a school has not received its mask or other supplies it will not operate.”
Last week, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) sent a document to South African schools which outlines standard operations during the pandemic.
In the document, Government provides an example of a screening questionnaire from the Department of Health. The questions will include the following:
– Do you have a high temperature?
– Do you have a cough?
– Do you have a sore throat?
– Do you feel weak and tired today?
– Can you taste food and drinks normally?
– Can you smell normally?
“If they are not infected when they come in, they shouldn’t be infected when they leave school,” Motshegka said.