Schools close to prevent spread of Covid-19

A worker inside a hospital wearing a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Schools have been closed early and the school holidays have been extended from today, Wednesday March 18, until after Easter following the president’s announcement on Sunday March 15 of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

While some schools finished their exams last week, others were still busy with exams up until Monday March 16 and yesterday, Tuesday March 17.

Fairmount High School principal Terrance Klassen said fortunately they finished their exams on Friday but said teachers were trying to finish administrative work for Grade 12s, including marking, moderation and other tasks to get reports out.

“We want to push to wrap the term up and we won’t be able to do it for all the grades but do want to do it for the matriculants so that they and their parents can have their results because this year is obviously extremely important for them,” he said.

He commended the steps taken to safeguard pupils and staff.

“Thesearespecialcircumstances and we hope and pray that a vaccine will be developed soon and that the working class is not affected. This is a big concern because of the socio economic issues and the fact that the middle class take taxis, buses and trains and live in overcrowded homes where they can’t be self-quarantined,” said Mr Klassen.

School holiday classes have been cancelled but the school will look at alternative ways to help pupils study and go over their academic work.

Heathfield High School was supposed to start their exams on Monday March 16 and finish on Friday March 20 but was unable to because of the term’s earlier closure date.

For the past few years the school has written their exams in the last week of the school term to keep pupils at school and get extended class time and teacher contact.

Principal Wesley Neumann said: “Pupils have a tendency to not come to school after the exams are done so we scheduled the exams to run to last week of school to cram in as much class time as possible. This was planned since last year.

“What has transpired was totally unexpected but we are planning to start the exams two days after the school’s reopen. We are also thinking of doing an accumulative report for March and June but this is still being discussed.”

Teachers are setting up intervention programmes, especially for the matrics by preparing a workbook with all of the term’s work, setting up links and WhatsApp groups.

Pupils will also be given assignments and worksheets for them to go over while they are at home for the four weeks.

“We are trying to work out a daily schedule for parents and pupils which they are expected to follow at home. This is not a holiday, pupils still need to go over their work so that they are prepared when they come back in the new term,”said Mr Neumann.