Parents of lower primary learners are worried about sending their children back to school as Covid-19 cases surge.
The pre-primary to grade 3 learners resumed face-to-face classes on 7 July and many parents fear that their children are not ready to go back to school.
Diana Slinger, a parent of a grade 2 learner said she would not send her son to school before the school assures her that her child is protected while at school.
“I am scared of sending my son to school because the cases have increased and I am not sure whether my child will be safe and who will be accountable if my child gets infected with coronavirus while at school. So for now, I have decided to keep my child at home for at least two weeks,” she said.
The principal of Sonop Primary School in Mariental, Catherine Christiaan, said that the return to school created a worrisome atmosphere for many parents as only half the number of the total learners in pre-primary to grade 3 showed up on the first day.
“The turn up was not so good but at least 64% of the total number of learners turned up,” said Christiaan.
She added that learners themselves were affected by the situation.
“The kids were very quiet so, we don’t know if they also have their fears and they can’t touch their friends or even say hello, they didn’t even want to communicate properly. We are trying our best and ask the parents to give their cooperation and also guide the learners at home,” she said.
Acting principal of D.D. Guibeb Primary School Jason Wilibaldt said that on the first day, learners were few but the number increased during the week. He said the learners are well disciplined and wear their masks at all time.
“We cut out playing time but we have availed a room where the learners can have their lunch,” he said.
Regional director of education Gerhard Ndafenongo encouraged parents who are not yet confident to send their children back to school, to keep close contact with the respective schools to make sure that the continuation of teaching is taking place.
He stressed that the ministry will be forced to make the learners repeat the grade in the coming academic year if these measures are not adhered to.
“They should pick up learners’ packages for them to study at home and when there are assessment tasks at school such as tests or projects parents must make the learners available to do those assessments,” he said.
He further urged parents to send their children back to school, as the ministry will provide psycho-social support to learners who are afraid to go back to school.
“Our system is ready, the schools are ready. We will not be the ones to rule out that there will be no single positive case confirmed, that is not in our control but we are assuring parents that if there is a case detected, the Ministry of Health and Social Services will respond to it and take care of the situation,” said Ndafenongo.