‘Pupils are scared but so are staff’: Back to school during Covid-19

Shared anxiety and determination united pupils and teachers at a Johannesburg school on Monday‚ the first day of class during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Pupils have to make a stop at the screening station before entering the school premises. Image: Andisiwe May

“The pupils have been so well-behaved this morning‚ I am proud of them. They have been following social distancing measures‚” said Willie de Wet‚ principal of Roosevelt High School.

The school has been ready to receive students since two weeks ago as staff had anticipated opening a week earlier.

“We are happy we waited to make sure we sanitised and deep-cleaned to ensure the staff and pupils are safe‚” said De Wet.

With only two pupils not attending school on Monday due to medical reasons‚ 187 Grade 12 pupils were expected to arrive today.

De Wet said the school employs some teachers over the age of 60 years‚ and has made special arrangements for them.

“Pupils are scared but so are staff members. However‚ we are in the business of teaching‚” he said.

Eager to start teaching‚ De Wet and fellow staff members stood outside the school premises to greet pupils and guide them through the morning’s routine.

Pupils have to stand in marked lines to adhere to social distancing measures. They then hand in indemnity forms and walk to a screening station where they are sanitised and screened.

De Wet said the school is fully prepared for any crisis.

“In case of a crisis‚ we are prepared. The school has full internet and all lessons are recorded. We will continue with Zoom and send work to other pupils” he said.

During the last month‚ the school sent 326‚000 emails and WhatsApp messages with school work to keep pupils up to date.

“Grade 12 exams are already set. Our aim is to do the same for the rest of the grades to finish the curriculum‚” De Wet said.

By: Andisiwe May

Source: ARENA Holdings.

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