In July, the Department of Basic Education(DBE) announced that primary school pupils should go back to attending school daily. Pupils’ return to daily school attendance follows over a year of rotational attendance.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were only allowed to have only about 50% of pupils attend school, while the other 50% attended on an alternate day.
Help your child adjust to a daily routine with these tips
Attending school on a rotational basis was to ensure that fewer pupils were at school simultaneously. This was to ensure that schools have enough classroom space for social distancing and curb the Coronavirus spread.
However, rotation attendance had a negative impact on learning, as it created further learning gaps, especially for children who already had learning difficulties.
Speaking to Cape Talk radio, on the rotation attendance system recently, Director of the independent Institute of Education, Dr Felicity Coughlan, said the rotational system wasn’t working as it creating further inequality in the country.
Over the past few weeks, many schools welcomed 100% of their learners back to school following a mandate from the DBE to resume daily attendance.
While learners are excited to return to school, changing their routine from rotation to daily attendance will be an adjustment. A change in routine can make children feel anxious.
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SPARK Theresa Park Principal, Gugu Mlambo, says parents can help ease the back to school jitters by assuring their children about the health and safety measures taken to protect them at school.
“These conversations need to be centred around general health and safety and address any questions that learners might have,” she says.
Additionally, parents should also talk to their scholars about their role in protecting themselves and others, such as mask-wearing and regular hand hygiene. Teachers are also tasked with ensuring that learners are adhering to the health and safety measures at schools.
“Staff have to be vigilant around the school and ensure that health and safety is a priority, especially in class and during our five core daily procedures – arrivals, Sparks Fly, transitions, lunch/break, and dismissals,” she adds.
She adds that parents should also have conversations with their children on how they can still show love and affection while maintaining social distancing.