MASERU – The relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in neighbouring South Africa has allowed Grades 7 and 12 Basotho students studying in the country to return to school on June 1.
South African Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, announced on June 19 that schools in South Africa will open for students in both Grade 7 and 12, following weeks of uncertainty after education was suspended in the wake of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world. “We will start with Grade 7 and 12 and small schools. The other Grades will follow in due course,” Motshekga said in the announcement.
The decision to reopen schools in South Africa is guided by international bodies UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) which have expressed concern over the social costs of keeping schools closed for prolonged periods.
On Tuesday the local National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) in Maseru announced that Basotho students in the aforementioned Grades in South African schools will also return to school, a decision they say has been approved by the South African National Coronavirus Command Council and the Cabinet (NCCC).
Even though the Council understand worries, doubts and fears around COVID-19 ahead of reopening but the lives of growing students cannot be held back especially seeing that scientists anticipate that the virus will be in existence for the next two coming years, according to the Maseru NECC statement.
Giving a summary of what Basotho students are expected to do so as to ensure smooth movements at the borders when they return to school, South African High Commissioner, Sello Moloto, appeals to students to immediately report to the South African High Commission in Maseru, during office hours.
Students are expected to bring the following documents for facilitation processes, travelling documents (passports), study permits, prove from their respective schools that they have registered for Grades 7 and 12.
“In this manner, the NECC strongly calls parents, guardians and students to ensure compliance with prevention measures against the pandemic so as so enrich ‘Save Lives’ campaign meant to ensure protection and safety of Basotho nationals,” Moloto said.
The wearing of masks is in line with Lesotho’s Public Health (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, remains effective and all students are advised to comply. All are also expected to ensure washing hands with soap regularly while also observing social distancing rule.
Latest reports from WHO on the state of the virus in the neighbouring South Africa have shown the country has recorded 23 615 cases, 11 917 recoveries as well as 481 fatalities; Lesotho, on the other hand has recorded two confirmed cases, patients reported to be recovering well and clinically stable.