by Okeri Ngutjinazo and Roxane Bayer
MINISTER of education, arts and culture Anna Nghipondoka said no new directive has been made on the reopening of schools, despite the announcement of two new Covid-19 cases yesterday.
The ministry announced last week schools will commence face-to-face classes in phases, with Grades 11 and 12 resuming classes on 3 June.
Phase two will include preprimary to Grade 3 pupils who will begin on 22 June; phase three will see Grades 7 and 9 returning on 6 July, and phase four will send Grades 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 back to school on 20 July.
All pupils will end the academic school year on 18 December.
Nghipondoka said this decision still stands unless a new directive is communicated.
Kalumbi Shangula, minister of health and social services, yesterday announced two new coronavirus cases were reported, involving two Namibian women who travelled from South Africa and are currently in quarantine.
Sanet Steenkamp, executive director of education, arts and culture, last week said 80% of schools are ready to receive pupils.
She was speaking at the Covid-19 communication centre on Wednesday.
Steenkamp said most schools have bought soap, installed tippy taps, and have undergone deep cleaning as they prepare to re-open in June and July.
“Our planning has not started now, we have been planning for the past few months,” she said.
Steenkamp said most schools have already procured sanitisers, liquid soap, water dispensers and tippy taps, while the education ministry has disbursed additional funding to the regions to assist schools in need.
The deep-cleaning process has started at many schools and some hostels.
Steenkamp said water will be provided in three ways: through 10 000-litre and one-and-a-half-litre tanks with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, by connecting schools to water pipes, and by setting up boreholes at some.
“Out of 1 920 schools, at least 193 have potable water issues. The regions that are hit hardest are the Kavango West and Kavango East, Omusati and Ohangwena regions,” she said.
Steenkamp said when pupils return to class, teachers will pick up where they left off, adding the progress of pupils at home will be assessed and extra support would be considered.
The ministry said school timetables will be adjusted to focus on the six promotional subjects.
Sport will not be part of the programme. She said playgrounds will have demarcated areas to ensure social distancing.
In addition, the executive director said the ministry is working with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade to ensure pupils are provided with masks.
She said the ministry will make funds available to restore hostel furniture.
Khomas education director Gerard Vries said all stakeholders, including private schools, have been involved in the planning process.
He said the ministry has been consulting the City of Windhoek about the suspension of water and electricity accounts.
Vries added the school feeding programme will continue, and maize meal will be distributed among parents.