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Protective gear, staggered breaks and designated eating areas for Gauteng pupils when schools reopen

Gauteng education MEC Panyazi Lesufi has outlined plans to prepare for the reopening of schools.
Gauteng education MEC Panyazi Lesufi has outlined plans to prepare for the reopening of schools.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Simone Kley

Over 300,000 pupils are expected to return to schools across the province, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Thursday.

Pupils will go on break at different times and designated eating areas will be provided.

These are some of the measures that the Gauteng education department says it will put in place when children go back to school.

The department on Thursday outlined its plans to commence with the academic year ahead of the opening of schools for grade 12 and 7 pupils on June 1. 

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said over 300,000 pupils are expected to return to school premises across the province. 

Lesufi said all pupils and staff returning to school would be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times to prevent exposure or risk to their health.

He said pupils and teachers would have their temperatures checked on a daily basis to determine if they will be allowed inside. 

“The screening point will have pre-populated registers containing name, surname, grade, physical address, learner's cellular phone number, next of kin contact number, temperature and response to the screening questions,” he said. 

“If the screening questions indicates there are no risks and the temperature is below 38°C, the learner proceeds to enter the building.” 

The MEC said pupils and teachers showing signs of infection would be accommodated in an isolation room until the arrival of the next of kin, who will be advised to seek medical attention. 

While pupils often gathered in large groups during lunch time, Lesufi said breaks would be taken at different times and there would be designated areas for eating, including the classrooms. 

Pupils will be expected to wear their face masks at all times, except for when they are eating.  

All classes are expected to have 20 pupils or less, with each pupil occupying his or her own table.

Lesufi said in order for schools to reopen, they needed to be cleaned with functional equipment. In terms of water, he said 67 schools in the province did not have a regular supply. All of them will be provided with tanks. 

“Water deliveries procurement is done. Deliveries will be done 24 hours before school resumption date,” he said. 

In terms of cleaning capacity, 1,752 schools were deemed to have the resources to undertake the cleaning themselves. 

“We are transferring R15,432 to schools for the appointment of local capacity to clean the schools.”

However, 577 schools had been deemed to not have the capacity to undertake the cleaning themselves. Bidvest would be cleaning and disinfecting them, he said.

The company is also expected to provide sanitiser dispensers for all of the 1,253 matric classrooms in the province. This process started on Wednesday.

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