Virtual open day on the cards for Gauteng parents to evaluate school readiness

Picture; Nigel Sibanda

This after concerns were raised that a physical inspection would pose a danger and leave schools contaminated, MEC Panyaza Lesufi said.

The Gauteng department of education is considering having a virtual open day for parents to assess school readiness ahead of the reopening on 1 June.

This after concerns were raised that a physical inspection would pose a danger and leave schools contaminated, MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Monday.

The department announced last Thursday it would be rolling out an open day on 31 May, a day before the return of Grade 7 and 12 pupils, with the purpose of allowing parents to view schools and assess whether the safety measures in place were adequate.

However, many people submitted representations to the department that a virtual open day would be better, rather than a situation where parents and guardians actually visit the school premises.

Lesufi said parents believed the day was a good idea, but suggested that schools post their readiness online and on their websites.

“There is a fear that some of the parents, when coming to observe the readiness, might also leave things there that might be harmful to our learners (sic).

Assuring people

“Even though we are assuring people of sanitisation and that all parents will be screened, there is a fear that if there is a surge of parents to come and observe, in the process we might contaminate the school premises. We are trying to check the virtual aspect of it rather than an actual visit,” he said.

On Monday, Lesufi visited Bryanston High School to assess their readiness. The school had already received personal protective equipment (PPE) and had started separating desks inside classrooms, which would allow for physical distancing once teaching and learning started.

Lesufi said the delivery of PPEs to various schools was well under way in preparation for 1 June.

The department was also providing mobile classes to schools which were vandalised during the lockdown.

At least 331 schools had been vandalised across the province during the lockdown, the MEC said.

“We will protect the PPEs. There are new people that are security guards we have employed. They are going to report for duty from 1 June to go and protect wherever we need to.”

Report

The department has also made its school readiness report open for public comment.

The report will be made available on the department’s website from Monday to Friday, the MEC said.

Speaking on the approach for special schools, Lesufi said a committee was in place to guide the sector on how pupils with special needs should be handled.

“For example, their PPEs are different because learners with special needs, in some instances, a teacher must carry a learner, so they must have different PPEs. They call it coveralls because you can’t eliminate the element of touching there,” he said.

He added that special schools may not be phased in by grade because of their nature and size.

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