Caution, fewer pupils and superhero dress-up, as some Western Cape schools reopen

Deep cleaning of classrooms at Bedfordview Primary School in Bedfordview, 26 May 2020 ahead of pupils returning to school after lockdown measures were introduced to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The red crosses on each desk is to stop anyone sitting too close to other pupils. Picture: Neil McCartney

Numbers of pupils turning up was lower than expected in many places.

Many Western Cape schools reopened for Grade 7 and 12 pupils on Monday morning.

While some staff and pupils appeared anxious, others used the opportunity to be creative about welcoming nervous pupils back to class.

Teachers at Tableview Primary dressed up as superheroes and performed a dance for the new arrivals.

While many schools in the country will only reopen for Grades 7 and 12 next week, many Western Cape schools that were deemed ready welcomed pupils for orientation on Monday.

In a last-minute postponement on Sunday evening, the national education department announced that schools would only reopen for those two grades on June 8, due to some schools not being ready to open across the country.

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer on Sunday said many Western Cape schools were by-and-large ready to start, at the very least, to provide orientation to pupils on the new school reality this week.

News24 visited a few schools in the Cape Town area to gauge the mood of those returning under Level 3.

At Tableview High School, it was relatively quiet, as students filed in slowly early on Monday morning, with the new health protocols and guidelines in full effect and on display.

One matric pupil told News24: “I am anxious, but I will see what it’s like.”

His father said he was not 100% happy with the reopening decision, but was going ahead with the guidelines and precautions.

Down the road at Tableview Primary, teachers found a creative way to ease any tensions that pupils may be experiencing by welcoming them in superhero outfits as they sprayed their hands with sanitiser.

They also performed a superhero dance for their returning Grade 7s in Cape Town.

All teachers dressed up as a superhero character, with the principal, Mr Gouws, donning the cowl and cape of Batman.

He said the kids were the real superheroes.

Elsewhere in Cape Town, at both Danie Ackermann Primary and Gordon Secondary alongside the N2 in Somerset West, staff waited in a carefully-organised manner for the first pupils – scanners and sanitiser at the ready.

At both schools, the number of pupils who arrived was far lower than the school had anticipated.

At Danie Ackermann Primary, staff were awaiting the usual 160 Grade 7 pupils. But when the first bus arrived, only four pupils disembarked from the 60-seater vehicle, and from the next bus from the nearby suburb of Nomzamo, only two pupils disembarked.

At Gordon Secondary, only around 20 matric pupils arrived. At Strand Secondary in Rusthof, next to Lwandle, the numbers were also low, with only half a dozen matric pupils seen standing in the morning sunshine, waiting to enter.

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