No more playing, eating outside during lunch is the new normal at school

08 June 2020 - 13:38 By Shonisani Tshikalange
Masked grade 7 pupils at Thohoyandou Primary queue for their temperatures to be taken on their first day back at school.
Masked grade 7 pupils at Thohoyandou Primary queue for their temperatures to be taken on their first day back at school.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

Eating in classrooms and no playtime during breaks will be the new normal at school, said a principal.

At Thohoyandou Primary School in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, principal Livhuwani Ramano was expecting 132 grade 7 pupils to return to school on Monday.

Pupils were masked and their temperatures taken before they entered the premises. Classrooms were modified to ensure social distancing could be enforced in line with Covid-19 safety protocols, he said.

“We have eight grade 7 teachers so we divided the number of pupils by eight so every class has a maximum of 16 pupils,” he said.

Ramano said changes also had to be made to the school's feeding scheme to adhere to the Covid-19 management rules.

“Pupils will be served food inside their classrooms to avoid them breaking self-distancing rules. We told them to bring their own plates,” he said.

When leaving the classroom to wash their hands, pupils must observe a 1m distance rule under staff supervision.

Other grades are set to return on a staggered basis in a month's time, and in August.

Ramano said though the school had begun preparing for the return of grades R, 3 and 6 pupils, he believed they would require mobile classrooms and additional teachers.

The principal of Thohoyandou Primary said the school needs mobile classrooms when grade 4 and grade 5 pupils return as there are not enough classrooms to ensure social distancing.
The principal of Thohoyandou Primary said the school needs mobile classrooms when grade 4 and grade 5 pupils return as there are not enough classrooms to ensure social distancing.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

“We've realised that when the grade 4 and grade 5 pupils come back, we won’t have enough classrooms.

“The grade Rs will get priority. In grade R we have 180 pupils but only have six grade R teachers. This means we need 10 more teachers,” he said.

He said the school employs at least six teachers who have underlying health issues.

“They are coming to school because the department has not yet given the thumbs up that they can stay at home, and we are still waiting for substitute teachers,” he said.

Online tutorials will be provided for pupils who cannot come to school.

“So far we have at least six pupils with underlying health issues. The majority of the children don’t have any problems, and most parents indicated their children are coming,” he said.

Ramano said the school has put together a relief teaching timetable, in case teachers fall ill.

Acting head of department for the foundation phase at the school, Madima Meriam, said pupils and teachers will change masks during the day.

“Every class teacher will hand out the masks and tick the register. Although most learners came with their own masks, we are going to give them masks at the start of lessons and after break we will give them other masks,” she said.


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