Schools are at 100% capacity and this is how parents and teachers really feel about that

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School have reopened and there is still a lot of concern around children's safety.
School have reopened and there is still a lot of concern around children's safety.
PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES/ Lubabalo Lesolle

For more than a year they've had to home-school their children on the days when they were home. 

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, most pupils - with the exception of matriculants - have only been going to school on alternate days to keep the spread of the virus down. 

But from the week of 3 August, children had to go back to school on a full-time basis, according to the department of basic education. 

While the 100% capacity return has been slow in some areas, teachers and parents still have mixed feelings about this new normal. 

Parent Nosisi Magijana is one of them. 

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"On one hand, I understand that something needs to be done about kids returning to school full-time at some point, but I feel like government hasn't made any provisions and I'm not sure the regulations will be followed to the T," she says. 

Another parent, Nandipha Mancam, says she she is  only sending her son back to school because she has no other option. 

"I am not happy at all," she says. 

"We all know how kids are, they are not going to social distance. My son is 8 years old and I can tell you for free that I know he and his peers play, hug and share toys and they are not worried about the virus," she says. 

Vero Mandla, also a parent, says she is happy for her children to return to school because they're not much safer at home anyway.

"When kids are home they go out to play with other kids and have contact with parents who go to work too. So they might as well go to school.

"Also, some of us parents are not equipped to home-school the kids. Most of us were struggling with helping them with their homework pre-covid, so having to do all this work is not easy," she says.

Vero also says kids should go back to school because they are falling behind on their academics.

"Covid-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, so at some point life will have to go on."

Teacher Lungi Mkosi says as teachers they are afraid because the infection rate is increasing.

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"We are scared but we understand why the full-time return is important. We also realize that it is not realistic to expect parents to teach their kids the way we do."

Lungi says their other concern is the amount of teaching and learning when they are alternating.

"At our school, kids used to have one week on and one week off. That had an impact on how much school work was actually being done because you would teach them something this week and when they return two weeks later, you have to reteach it. So there was just no progress."

Nandipha Milisi, also a teacher, says it's tough for them as teachers even though schools are doing their best in attempts to adhere to the regulations.

"We really do try. The kids have their hands sanitized often but the truth is that enforcing the rules is not easy when you are in a class of more than 50 learners.

"I wish government could have at least provided temporary structures first so that we could reduce the number of learners in a class at a time and we can social distance. Some children also get tired of wearing masks all day. They pull them down to their chins as soon as you turn around."

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