Sudden closure leaves schools in the lurch

In a move that was equal parts shocking and inevitable, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on Sunday in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the disease on our society and economy,” Ramaphosa said during his national broadcast.

Steps taken by the government include a travel ban on high-risk countries like South Korea and Germany, the closing of ports of entry and the banning of gatherings of more than 100 people.

While many citizens were taken by surprise by the unexpected announcement, schools were caught equally off guard when it was announced that they would be forced to shut down until at least the end of April.

“Schools first became aware of the situation around school closures when the President addressed the country on Sunday evening,” said Stirling High School headmaster Doug Prior.

The sudden and lengthy closure has put students in a precarious academic position, but Prior said steps have been taken to ensure pupils are not disadvantaged too much.

“We have cell contact details of all subject classes and many of our staff will be sending online lessons or instructions for work during the holidy to pupils’ homes via WhatsApp groups.

“Pupils have also been requested to read setwork books for the next term in order to not fall behind academically,” he said.

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