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It’s all systems go for the start of the 2021 academic school year

Following an extended December holiday due to a second Covid-19 wave, learners will report for the 2021 academic school year on Monday, 15 February.

While the department was still engaging with the managers of all 141 circuits in Limpopo receiving final school readiness reports at the time of going to print, most schools Observer contacted reported their readiness to resume, while others were still awaiting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the department.

Education Spokesperson, Tidimalo Chuene on Wednesday said the MEC, Polly Boshielo and management were still receiving readiness reports relating to the school nutrition programme, learner transport, admission of unplaced learners, provision of Covid-19 health and hygiene essentials, the delivery of text books and stationery packs, furniture, water and toilets.

“Thus far, indications are that almost all our schools will be ready to start the academic year on Monday. We will use the remaining few days to iron out challenges that are being flagged in the meeting,” she added.

Polokwane Observer spoke to some local principals about their schools’ readiness to open.

At Tom Naudé Technical High School, Acting Principal Vanessa Kachelhoffer, confirmed their readiness. “We have sanitised the school and everything is ready. We will start with orientation for learners in Gr 8, 10, 11 and 12.”

Acting Principal at Pietersburg Laerskool, Jacques Bartlett says the school is “more than ready” to receive learners on Monday.

“The safety of our learners is of utmost importance. Learners will return in groups. We have all the necessary PPE and comply with sanitation standards.”

No PPE has been received at Taxila Secondary School, but Principal Caiphus Ramara said learners used their own sanitiser and masks last year, and will continue to do so. “They have been using this week to prepare for the school to open on Monday with learners collecting timetables and textbooks. The department has also allocated teacher assistants.

The school’s Gr 12’s have already started attending classes to catch up and the other grades reopening on Monday will attend in groups.

Joseph Ntsiene, the Principal of Flora Park Comprehensive High School, says it is all systems go as the school is ready to receive learners while adhering to the set regulations for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

“To curb the spread of the virus, we have arranged with our learners and a plan of action has been compiled in terms of class arrangements, timetables and other school issues. Learners already collected their learning material to prevent congestion when the school opens.”

Bettie Boom, Westenburg Secondary School Principal, said the school also arranged for learners to receive their material in advance.

She said parents will be notified via SMS when learners can return to school. “Our timetable is also sorted out, and we will soon send it to the department.”

Learners at Laerskool Pietersburg-Noord Primary will also bring their own sanitising pack to school, Principal Attie Visagie confirmed. In terms of attendance, learners in the various grades will alternate.

The Principal of Pietersburg Comprehensive School, Rudi Fick said they are ready to welcome back learners.

“We have all the protocol in place to curb the spread of the virus, and enlisted the services of education assistant workers to help teachers.”

Learners here will also initially attend in groups. “Under normal circumstances, we have 40 learners in class occupying double desks. This time we will have 20 learners per class. This is done to maintain social distancing and ensure that learners are comfortable.”

Laerskool Ivypark Prinicpal, Willem Opperman said learners and teachers will be subjected to a compulsory screening process.

“Our classes have all been sanitised and learners will attend in groups. Our parents are familiar with the arrangement. All classes will be occupied by 20 learners as opposed to 40 which was the usual number before the pandemic. Only Gr R classes will cater for 15 learners.”

He further stated that they have appointed six educational assistants workers who will be tasked to assist.

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