Learners speak out on Covid-19 fears

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With the reopening of schools being a widely debated topic, parents and other stakeholders have given their views on what they think the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, should do next. Bloemfontein Courant took to the streets this week to speak to learners from different schools to hear what they feel should be done with this academic year.

Grade 11 learner, Bevan Barnes, explained that his biggest fear is about social distancing at school. Barnes told Bloemfontein Courant that another challenge is having a mask on all day.

“We already have so much anxiety as children, seeing our parents suffer as they lose their jobs due to this pandemic. Schools must remain closed until the severity of this pandemic is lower. Yes, we need education but our lives come first.”

Grade 6 learner, Amelia Vincent, explained that she feels that schools are the safest place for learners at the moment as their teachers are there to give them masks and hand sanitiser while also reminding them to keep a safe social distance. “I would like schools to open and remain open for the rest of the year as even those who test positive at school, caught it somewhere else.”

A matric learner, Jo-Nique Saaiman, said her biggest fear is the lack of or non-adherence to social distancing. She is afraid that she might pick up the virus at school and infect her family. “The worst part of Covid-19 has been the lack of attending classes which has caused me to lose traction and focus. I think the schools should remain closed until the worst is over.”

Grade 11 learner, Megan Noome, said her biggest fear is getting infected. She agrees with other learners that schools should remain closed. Megan’s brother Sam, a Grade 5 learner, said he also believes that schools should be closed during this time.

Grade 7 learner, Ashford Khoarane, said he fears that he will get sick and bring the infection home. To him, the worst part is that this pandemic has made it difficult to attend school normally. “We need to understand that this sickness comes accidentally and no one should be victimised. It is important that we wear our masks, wash our hands and sanitise. I think it’s best the schools are closed for this winter season.”

Grade 9 learner, Stacey Shariff, said her biggest fear is getting infected at school. “If we as kids had a say in this, we would most likely choose for schools to be open because this virus also has an effect on our mental health.”

Another grade 12 learner, Andi Moos, said the worst for him is falling behind in his school work in the most important academic year. He added that closing the schools are not only safer but it also levels the playing field for all learners who are not receiving adequate education at the moment.

Sazly Hartzenberg

sazly@centralmediagroup.co.za