Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners are preparing to return to school on 1 June. There is a great deal of fear about what will happen next. Will children returning to school have an impact on the spread of C-19. There are so many different expert opinions doing the rounds that it is difficult to form an opinion on this. My granddaughter is in Grade 12. Am I happy about her returning to her boarding school? My gut says – yes – it should be fine. She is a mature young lady who understands the situation. She is just as likely to pick up the virus at the supermarket as she is at school. More importantly, she needs to complete her schooling. Fortunately, she has had excellent online tuition but that does not make up for the need to have contact with her teachers. But it’s not the privileged private school kids that are at risk. Things will be in place to keep them safe. Classrooms will not be over-crowded. They will have masks and sanitiser. What, I wonder, will it be like in poorer schools where at the best of times there is overcrowding. Then again when these children are at school they have are assured of at least one good meal a day. Many won’t have had access to online learning and desperately need to catch up. During Lockdown many will have been unable to practise social distancing so going back to school will make little difference. Public transport is strictly controlled at present. All passengers have to wear masks and sanitise properly so they will have safe transportation to school. The schools have to abide by certain rules too so perhaps it will be better for all the children to return as soon as possible. I just don’t know what the right answer is. I think everyone is between a rock and a hard place. If people stay at home they could starve to death. If they return to work/school they could catch the virus but probably won’t die! The economy is falling apart. Will we ever recover? Is staying at home too high a price to pay?
Even with Lockdown, the number of C-19 infections is going up and there have been a few more deaths. Will going to Level 3 on 1 June make any difference at all? The Western Cape has the most reported cases but they have also done the most testing and have the best facilities for treating the virus. Their reporting is probably more accurate than in some of the other provinces too.