Children began returning to classrooms in South Africa on Monday as part of a gradual loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, even as some parents worried not enough had been done to guard against infections, APA reports citing Reuters.
The resumption of the school year had been delayed after teachers’ unions urged school staff to defy an order to return to work last week, saying schools did not have enough masks, gloves and other equipment.
But the biggest union dropped its objections and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday that ramped-up efforts to equip schools meant 95% of primary and secondary schools could now host classes.
As children trickled through the gates of Zithathele Primary School in Soweto, a working-class township outside Johannesburg, staff took their temperatures at a makeshift check-point.
Classes were limited to 20 pupils and the school said it was giving them masks and gloves. But some parents were not convinced.
Ntomizodwa Zitha said her children, worried they were falling behind, had persuaded her to let them return.
“I let my child come today but tomorrow I won’t. It’s too dangerous,” she said.
The shutdown has exposed deep divisions between black and white, rich and poor that persist in South Africa’s education system a quarter century after the end of white minority rule.