Primary School Learners Return To Daily Attendance From Today

Primary schools in the country saw an influx of learners this morning as all learners are now back in class at full capacity everyday, abandoning the rather problematic rotational timetable. There have been mixed reactions when it comes to this change.

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All learners attending primary school will, from today, be at school everyday with the rotational timetable being thrown out the window.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has said that this will be done in terms of the risk adjusted strategy. The department further said:

The decision to allow primary school learners to return to class daily was approved by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) as advised by scientists who monitor and advise Cabinet on Covid-19 related matters, trends and response mechanisms.

This move to the traditional timetable has been discussed since May with the department explaining that this will enable both teachers and learners to recover learning and teaching time that was lost due to the recently extended school break.

A massive amount of teaching and learning time was also lost since the changes in schools from the very beginning of the pandemic. It's been reported that a year was lost.

DBE Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, has said that schools are however not forced to implement the full-time return:

We are implementing what we call the risk adjusted differentiated strategy which means that each school, each province, each district, will make an assessment of whether they can allow all the learners to return or not.

If schools are not able to do this and don't have the resources need to, they can continue using the rotational timetable. Studies have shown that the rotational system is not working with Mhlanga saying that this is a difficult situation.

This could mean that poorer schools without the resources will be left behind and to this Mhlanga says that they are trying to find a balance and that Covid-19 has presented an unpredictable situation.

We need to do whatever we can as a department and as a system to ensure that some form of learning continues because the learning losses are too huge to contemplate and the research is saying that we are facing a crisis moving forward.

"It's a complex situation. There are no answers. We are all working on the basis of what we have to do," said Mhlanga.

Scientist continue their work with Mhlanga saying there might be a reduction when it comes to social distancing, which the department would welcome.

Contact and non-contact sports are now allowed to take place at schools so that learners can get back the socialisation they're used to.

517 000 people working within the sector have been vaccinated and more vaccinations are expected.

 

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