Outstanding Covid-19 response at Jurie Hayes PS recognized
23 April 2021
Minister Debbie Schäfer visited Jurie Hayes Primary School in the West Coast Education District on 13 April 2021 to learn more about the school’s response to Covid-19, after it received top marks from the Schools Evaluation Authority (SEA).
Principal Donny Jacobs explained that planning for re-opening the school to learners began when the hard lockdown was announced, rather than waiting to see what would happen. He noted that the school has an attitude of ‘we’re all in this together’ and applauded the dedication of the School Management Team (SMT) and SGB.
When teachers returned to school, but learners were not back yet, staff took the school bus to specific drop off areas in the communities where their learners lived. Parents received a WhatsApp to come and collect work for learners to do at home.
The SEA’s report noted that the staff’s preparation and implementation of the safety protocols.
“The SMT met during the lockdown, planned thoroughly, and compiled a draft Temporary Revised Education Plan (TREP), in line with the Department of Basic Education’s Standard Operating Procedure and the WCED’s Guidelines. The staff gave input before the TREP was submitted to the circuit manager and it was revised after the phase-in dates for the different grades changed. All groups interviewed reported that they were all orientated on their first day back at school. It is also clear in the behaviour of staff and learners that they understand and comply with Covid-19 regulations,” read the report.
One of the innovations the school produced was the handwashing station built by the caretaker from spare materials (such as wood and plastic gutters) that the school had available on site. The wastewater is then used to water the school garden. Now, 14 learners can wash their hands at the same time from a single tap, while maintaining social distancing – a little ingenuity goes a long way!
When concerns were raised about social distancing at learner transport pick-up points, teachers would supervise the pick-up points before schools in the morning. Parents took over this role, also playing a part in the school’s response to Covid-19.
The effectiveness of the school’s safety measures is clear – it has not had to close for a single day as a result of a positive case.
The SEA’s evaluation reports are available to the public here: http://seawc.gov.za/