On Friday the Department of Basic Education announced that pupils can now return to school on a full-time basis albeit if a number of protocols are observed to provide safety from Covid-19. Most of the protocols that the government approved revolve around sport, both contact and non-contact.
The current situation is that most schools are working on a rotational system where pupils alternate between weeks or days to avoid congestion in the schools as well as to allow schools to implement social distancing, which has generally affected government schools. Based on the protocols that the government has approved, this will be a thing of the past as all pupils will make a welcome return on a full-time basis. This was welcomed by the University of Johannesburg professor and educationist who insisted that pupils and teachers will be much safer at schools than out and about.
An interesting and obviously welcome development from these protocols is the reintroduction of sport, both contact and non-contact back into the school system. All sport will be allowed, and pupils will be allowed to play both contact and non-contact sport as well as participate in physical education lessons and extra murals. Another announcement that will obviously be a welcome change is the reintroduction of inter-schools, districts, provincial and national competitive sports. However, an important condition that has been set for these competitions is that there should be no spectators.
Speaking on the News channel, eNCA, Professor Mary Melcalfe, who is a research associate at the UJ, said the return to normalcy was very welcome, especially since the alternate system meant that children had to be taught half of the time, meaning that only 50% of the content would have been covered at the end of a given period. She added that the feedback from the teachers in schools was that once the children came back after a day away from school, they had to be retaught what they had already learned, which meant that very little headway was being made.