The education department in Gauteng is flooded with applications for homeschooling and for pupils with comorbidities who want to study from home.
This follows shortly on the heels of Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that public schools will be closed for four weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gr. 12s and gr. 7s will take one and two weeks off respectively.
Edward Mosuwe, head of the Gauteng education department, said at the Gauteng Covid-19 Command Board’s weekly media conference on Friday that 790 pupils were already receiving homeschooling.
Between February and June, they received another 223 applications, of which 192 have yet to be processed.
Only 22% of the gr. R pupils went to school after the schools reopened, while 65% of the matriculants returned. 71% of the matric teachers also reported for duty.
“We have seen a drastic increase in applications,” says Mosuwe.
According to him, however, it is shocking that some parents keep their children out of school without registering them for homeschooling and think they are going to educate themselves at home.
Mosuwe says they understand that some pupils cannot go to school due to comorbidities. The department started with “restriction learning” to help the pupils and received 1 325 applications in this regard. The pupils are still registered at their schools.
Bandile Masuku, Gauteng MEC for health, said there was hope as long as Gauteng’s recovery rate surpassed the active cases.
Gauteng has so far reported 148,854 confirmed cases, 77,397 people who have recovered, 70,270 active cases and 1,187 deaths.
“Our numbers are still rising drastically, but it gives us hope and courage that the recovery rate will also rise. However, that does not mean we have reached the top, ”says Masuku.
Masuku says they have increased the number of beds again in the past week and that there are now 9,056 beds in private and public hospitals, as well as field hospitals. The beds added in Nasrec have oxygen and there is capacity for people to be cared for here. 7,193 people are currently hospitalized, of whom 1,863 receive critical care.
“We feel the pressure in our facilities and we have a team that manages beds and refers patients to where there is space.”
The province plans to add another 5,220 beds. 541 nurses, 118 doctors and 295 medical support staff were appointed to assist with the pressure.