6 July 2020 saw the further phasing in of grades for South African students. Grades 6 and 11 went back this past Monday, including some grade R learners in schools that were deemed ‘ready’.
In schools like Nonto Primary School in Soweto, only one grade R learner was present on Monday, and even that one did not come back the following day. Parents with young children are still against taking their children back because they are not confident they will be safe. The misuse of sanitiser and an unwillingness to keep their masks on for too long is among the reasons why their kids are not back in school.
For some parents like Waheed Isaacs, whose daughter attends Grade 11 in Randpark Ridge High School, exams made it impossible to choose not to take his daughter back.
The whole weekend, Isaacs saw the fear is her daughter’s eyes and was “extremely nervous and worried for her”.
The school has reported two cases of Grade 12 students that tested positive for Covid-19, and was recently in the news for not following social distancing protocols. That story added to Isaacs’ nerves.
For parents like Keabetswe Sampson, whose son is asthmatic and in Grade 6, back-to-school is not an option. She is still trying to figure out homeschooling, and if that does not work out, her son will have to repeat grade 6 next year.
“I cannot afford to homeschool, and even if I could, I would have to be hands-on, which I can’t because I am working,” Nonzwi Cekete shared. For her and many other parents, back-to-school is her only option.
According to Jules Kynaston of Heart Mama Blog ““I’m very happy that my three kids are finally back at school in some capacity now and that the responsibility for distance learning is no longer sitting squarely on my shoulders. They are really enjoying being back in a familiar school environment but the lack of physical contact and all the new rules is frustrating for them”.
The school her kids are in is well resourced, but the new normal still needs some getting used to, particularly for her children.
Anonymously, one mom’s back-to-school journey is riddled with guilt. Her Grade 6 daughter went back on the sixth only because she had no other choice.
“I don’t want my daughter’s learning to be delayed, but I also don’t want her to fall sick. I am putting my faith in the school, trusting that they are doing everything in their power to educate our children and keeping them as safe as they possibly can.”
Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a political science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day.