FS ‘ready for next cohort of learners’

The Free State Department of Education spokesperson, Howard Ndaba

The Free State Department of Education says Free State schools are more than ready to receive the next cohort of learners as indicated by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

The department’s spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, said Grade R, Grade 1-3, Grade 6, Grade 10 and Grade 11 learners are expected to return to school on 6 July 2020. The department said it is most diff cult to strike the delicate balance between protecting the health of those at schools and protecting the academic year.

Ndaba, told Bloemfontein Courant that Covid-19 is uncharted territory for everyone, including the department, and thus the fight against the virus can only be overcome if all stakeholders refrain from pointing fingers. Parents, school employees, learners and all other stakeholders should rather work with the department.

Ndaba said the panic among parents at this point is understandable, but they can rest assured that at the centre of the department’s focus is the safety of every individual at school. Ndaba’s response comes after a number of Free State schools reported Covid-19 cases among learners or teachers during the first week of school for grade 7 and 12 learners.

Quite a number of learners were sent home after showing fl u-like symptoms. “The World Health Organisation has informed the Department of Education that the virus could be around for the next three years. Most of the cases that have been reported, have not been generated at the schools but rather at home or in another area, like for example the learner who had travelled from KZN and tested positive at a school in Bloemfontein,” said Ndbaba.

He said he can say with confidence that the standard operating protocols at the Free State schools are working and this can be seen in how quickly cases are being detected and how the mapping process takes place.

“Systems are in place. These systems include but are not limited to the wearing of masks, screening processes and working closely with the Department of Health in the province,” he said.

Sazly Hartzenberg