Back to school for Grade 6, 11 and some Grade R pupils

Selope Thema Primary School pupils in Orlando East, Soweto, line up to enter school grounds.
Selope Thema Primary School pupils in Orlando East, Soweto, line up to enter school grounds.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Children have started arriving in schools as the three grades return for the first time during the national lockdown.

Teachers at Soweto schools braved the cold and were ready as early as 6.30am to welcome the grade R, 6 and 11 who are returning for the first time since the country went into lockdown.

At Selope Thema Primary School in Orlando East, parents accompanied their children to see what would happen as they dropped them. After kissing the little ones goodbye, they then stood outside the gate observing how teacher were implementing Covid-19 regulations.

One of the parents, Sixolisiwe Zikhali said she a little scared.

"I'm scared but there is nothing I can do. It is my children's future that is at stake. They have to go back to school. I have observed what the teachers are doing, I think my children should be safe," said Zikhali.

Zikhali brought her five-year old daughter Minenhle who is doing grade R and 12-year-old son Lwandle who is doing grade 6 (both kids surname are Zikhali).

On Monday government allowed the three grades to return to school with concerns from teacher unions and parents still continuing.

At Ditau Primary school in Orlando East, there were more teachers than pupils in the early morning but later the number of children improved.

In most primary schools visited by Sowetan there were less grade R children due to the cold. 

Children were sanitized, compelled to observe social distancing and then screened at the entrance of the school. Those who had high body temperature were put aside to relax and then screened again.

It was evident that some of the parents had chosen to keep their children at home due to the rising number of infections at schools.

Rosina Baloyi who brought her 11-year-old daughter to Ditau primary said she is confident that her child would be safe.

"I'm not scared at all. I think there are systems that have been put in place to ensure that my child is safe," Baloyi said.

Her daughter Sewela Rapelang is doing grade 6.

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