In consultation with the District Department of Basic Education, a ‘COVID-19 School Readiness, Awareness and Educational Programme’ has been implemented across seven schools in the Gamagara area, to minimize the risk of learners and educators contracting the COVID-19 virus. The School Readiness Programme includes a Health and Safety risk assessment to develop a COVID-19 Management Plan for each school and the provision of PPE for learners and educators. The assessment will also include protocols on social distancing and demarcations, hygiene awareness and an education campaign on the implementation of the Management Plan and protocols.
“The Ubuntu Schools already face numerous challenges with regard to infrastructure, water accessibility and other facilities. Considering their current challenges, COVID-19 seemed overwhelming and unbearable, hence psycho-social support and other COVID-19 initiatives, such as the risk assessment were necessary. This support ensures Awareness and Guidance on how to help cope with and adjust to the current situation to reduce the risk of developing distress, improving well-being, as well as promoting preventive behaviour,” explained Brizelda Titus, Social Worker for the Ubuntu Schools Project.
Support has been provided to school Principals and their Management teams (SMT) in co-creating a new normal in the schools through the provision of basic COVID-19 PPE, Psycho-Social support services and ensuring that the learning environment is conducive and safe. Learners and operational staff are being supported to develop new behaviors that will contribute toward their safety and enable learners to achieve academically. Langberg High School Principal, Mr Roestof, believes this intervention is helping learners understand and practice good personal hygiene that is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, without which he believes the school environment would be a mess.
“The programme provides the schools with some relief as the teachers can focus on the mental health of leaners with the help of social workers, and fast-tracking the curriculum,” said Kelebogile Mogorosi, Local Community Liaison Officer for REISA.
The seven local schools that are being supported by this programme include Langberg High, Gamagara High, Deben Primary, Maikaelelo Primary, Noord-Kaap Primary, Sishen Intermediate Mine School and Sishen Primary School. Each pupil has also received a school readiness pack including two face masks; hand sanitizers; a cloth and surface cleaner.