President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that all public schools will be closing from Monday, 27 July, for one month to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The only exception, he said, would be Grade 12s and 7s, who would be returning earlier. He made no mention of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and day care facilities, which has left a lot of working moms with little ones stressed out.
But moms can relax – for now at least. According to Anton van der Merwe, chairperson of the South African Childcare Association, who was interviewed on CapeTalk on Friday, these centres will remain open until further notice.
“At this point, it [the public school announcement] is not applicable to any ECD centre or aftercare or day mother…all those falling under the Department of Social Development. Over 11 million people returned to work and there was no provision for safe day care for their children until we managed to get the ECD centres open again,” he said.
Approached to confirm if they’ll remain open even though the public schools under the Department of Basic Education will close, the ECD centres and day care facilities we contacted all said “yes”.
“Most of our kids are back and we’re having an amazing time,” said Petra Queiros, principal of Petra’s Preschool, Infant and Toddler Centre. “Parents and children are very happy and healthy.”
“Yes, we’re continuing with our play group five days a week. We have about 9 to 10 kids. Loving every moment,” added Anja Fockema, principal of Hug Bug Playschool.
Diane Herbst, principal of Tic Toc Nursery School says they’ll also be keeping their doors open until they’re notified otherwise. “At this stage, from what I can understand, we can remain open under the lockdown, provided we’ve met all the required guidelines stipulated in the directive for ECD centres published in the Government Gazette.”
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She has worked on various newspapers and magazines as a journalist and editor over the years. Passionate about health and wellbeing, she has won several respected industry awards for writing and editing. She’s featured on radio and television as a health and parenting expert numerous times and has judged the Pfizer Mental Health Journalism Awards on three occasions.
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