It is evident that the nation has heeded the call by health officials to wear masks as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Now public schools are putting pressure on parents to purchase masks, which are in line with the schools’ uniforms despite the fact that they already bought their children masks way before announcements that schools will reopen.
Some of these public schools have decided to ignore the fact that some children come from disadvantaged families and have to use whatever their parents can source out as a mask.
One parent, Kefhilwe Segole told The Monitor she was shocked some of the schools are insisting that they buy masks aligned to their school uniform.
“They claim that it shows dignity and uniformity if students come wearing masks aligned to the school uniform,” a concerned Segole said. “Our issue as parents is that we do not have money because this pandemic has affected us so badly. We were not ready for this situation and some of us have lost jobs while some parents did not get paid.”
One teacher who did not want to be named, said the mask is P15 to start with.
“Can’t parents sacrifice that to at least bring dignity and uniformity to their school? Again school is an institution that prides (itself) in uniform. If other schools are doing it and parents found it well befitting, why can’t our school practise that too?” he questioned. Recently, Seepapitso Senior School wrote to parents
“Batsadi botlhe ba ba nang le bana ba ba tsenang sekolo ko Seepapitso SS ba kopiwa go rekela bana ba bone di masks tse di tshwanetseng go be dile mmala wa paka ya sekolo navy blue. Ga gona ngwana ope yo o tla a letelelwang go tsena mo sekolong a sa rwala mask,” the letter read, an annoucement to purchase masks for students.
Seepapitso school head, Kgari Ramodise asked parents not to panic, as they will not send back home children wearing masks not aligned to school uniform.
“We are just encouraging parents to buy the mask similar or aligned to school uniform if they had not bought masks. It is a simple issue of uniformity. If they had already bought masks then it is fine,” Ramodise said.
The Minister of Basic Education, Fidelis Molao said, “No child should be returned home from school for not having a school uniform in the first place that is the standard. What more of a mask in school colour? So, simply put no child will be turned away for having a mask which is not in school uniform colours”.
He added it would be gratifying to have masks in school uniform colours, but where it is not practical to any mask will do.