By USISIPHO BATYI and ZISANDA SOLWANDLE
Some learner support organisations have cautiously rebooted their operations.
The Awarenet Open Lab at the Joza Youth Hub is open to small numbers of Grade 8-11 learners from Ntsika, Khutliso Daniels, TEM Mrwetyana and Nombulelo high schools.
Awarenet director, Kjetil Torp, said a maximum of six learners were accommodated per online learning session – with just three learners in each of the two computer labs.
“We are running a sanitized system and observe the 1.5-metre social distancing rule.”.
“We normally receive up to 100 learners a day in the Open Lab – but the pandemic has forced us to limit the number of learners,” he said.
Online learning has been extremely limited during lockdown due to the lack of data and digital devices, Torp said.
“We opened the labs again as we really wanted to help children with the school work they have been missing out on the last months. We think it is important that our children get good access to the internet and computers,” he added.
Thimna, a Grade Nine learner, said she was very happy the labs have opened as she had limited data at home.
Another learner, Hlumela, said she did not have an electronic gadget to access the internet. “Every time I wanted to study, I would use a text-book that I borrowed from my cousin,” she said. The textbook did not give her the model answers she gets in the computer labs.
Both said they could not wait for schools to reopen as they are struggling to study at home.
Awarenet has introduced a number of very strict rules at the Joza Youth Hub to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:
- Masks for all learners and staff.
- Screening for all learners and staff; if they show any COVID-19 symptoms like fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or loss of smell they will not be allowed to enter.
- Measuring the temperature of all learners and staff with a thermometer.
- Sanitising the computer labs throughout the day.
- Distancing of at least 1.5 metres from each other – and only three learners will be at one computer lab at a time.