Day 66 – (N)opening

A lot of schools have gone through a lot of work in order to get students safely back into the classroom. Obviously, there are huge numbers of rules that they have to follow regarding screening staff and students, social distancing, sanitation, numbers of students in the building etc etc.

Many schools have managed to work out a system to make this work. It’s been a huge amount of hard work, organisation and effort.

And then in step in the Department of Basic Education late on Friday evening, literally zero working hours before the schools are due to open, publishing rules that effectively make it illegal for many smaller and independent schools to open.

Government always makes it all better.

And so now (literally as I write) the Independent Schools Association of South Africa are meeting with the DBE and asking (probably) what the actual firetruck is going on. And then later today, a whole 13½ hours before the schools are/were due to (carefully) open their doors, a press conference from Angie et al.

Christ alone knows what she’s going to change this time.

Personally, when your graphs are looking like this:

…I don’t think it’s the right time to be sending kids (and teachers) back to school. But that’s beside the point. When you give schools a month to prepare for a given date and then you pull the rug at (even beyond!) literally the very last working minute, it smacks of complete and utter incompetence.

From the Department of Basic Education? Strange, that.

Back to school 2018

And so, the day I was dreading on Monday has come to pass. And it wasn’t so bad after all.

Looking back now (and to be fair, it is some chronological distance), I can’t recall my feelings at heading back to school after the summer break. Obviously, coming from a Northern hemisphere nation, we started back in September, but other than that, not much has is very different, and when I dropped our two off this morning, there was the usual melange of oversized school bags, new uniforms, smiles, tears and anxious parents.

Not for us, of course. Our kids were gone – Single Use Plastic-free lunchboxes in hand – just as soon as the car doors opened. They’ve headed back to school with a good deal of enthusiasm, tempered with perhaps just a touch of resignation at the end of the holiday and a smidgen of trepidation at the challenges that lie ahead. But the experience was overwhelmingly positive – they enjoy school and they react well to having more structure to their days – especially after 7 (seven!) weeks of holiday.

Last year was exceptional. Let’s see if we can do even better in 2018.