South Africa: Soweto Children Adjust to 'New Normal' At Schools

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gives an update on the preparations for the re-opening of schools during a media briefing held at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria on May 19, 2020.

Apprehensive Soweto parents sent their children back to school on Monday after a lengthy break.

On Monday the Gauteng Department of Education said 85% of schools in the province had reopened.

However, some parents decided not to send their children back. The department had stated that it would not dispute parents' desire to keep their children at home until they are satisfied that it was safe to do so.

Speaking during a press briefing on Monday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said nine schools were unable to reopen because of vandalism and sanitation problems.

The number of schools in the province that have Covid-19 cases had risen from 30 to 38, the number of educators and learners who have contracted the virus had risen from 30 to 39, and there are 38 new cases that need to be investigated.

Lesufi said three schools in Orange Farm had not opened because of protests by communities.

"We want to determine whether there has been a surge in infections since schools reopened. Overall, we are happy that everything went well. Learners are happy," said Lesufi.

Many Soweto schools devoted the first day of schools reopening to orientation and to playing catch-up.

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