Parents to face big dilemma come June 1

SA schools are set to reopen from June 1, but education experts, unions and others say they are worried about pupils’ protection against the virus
SA schools are set to reopen from June 1, but education experts, unions and others say they are worried about pupils’ protection against the virus
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In about five days, parents will kiss their children goodbye and send them off to school, hoping for the best.

For nine weeks they have kept them safe, doing their utmost to protect their children from the ghastly virus for which there is no cure.

On June 1 — and with the number of infections on an upward trend — pupils in grades 7 and 12 will be heading back to school.

The remaining grades will be phased in over time, the details still to be communicated.

When basic education minister Angie Motshekga made the announcement last week, there was naturally an outcry from many parents.

They fear for the health and safety of their children; they fear sending them out into an environment they are unable to control.

Though Motshekga said measures would be put in place to protect pupils and teachers, some teaching staff tell a different story.

Those who spoke to The Herald say they have yet to receive personal protective equipment (PPE) and they are concerned it would not arrive before Monday.

Their concerns are not unfounded, particularly as the department notoriously fails every year to deliver books and stationery before the start of the school year.

District education secretary Richard Draai told us 15 schools in the  northern areas had not yet received their PPE.

“Will these PPEs even arrive before Monday?

“They [education officials] should have ensured all the PPE was delivered before announcing the school opening.

“Parents are up in arms. They are not happy.

“They don’t open up parliament but it’s fine for children to return to school,” Draai said.

A difficult period lies ahead for parents, pupils and teachers.

Tough decisions will have to be made — most of which will affect the futures of these young learners.

Many parents are grappling with choosing between their children’s safety and the possibility that they may get left behind academically.

What will they choose to do?

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