GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer said in a statement this morning, Monday 6 April, that the WCED will implement school feeding to help the vulnerable learners during lockdown.
Schäfer said the Western Cape Government has been working hard to find a solution that would ensure that learners who normally receive school meals during term time do not go hungry during this extended school closure and lockdown.
“We have now been allocated emergency funding from Province in order to support our learners who ordinarily receive school feeding during term time over the next two weeks.”
On Sunday Premier Allen Winde announced that provincial treasury has approved the allocation of emergency funding, of which R18-million will be given to the Department of Education to initiate a special school feeding programme from 8 to 20 April.
This will target the 485 000 existing beneficiaries at approximately 1 000 schools with one take-away meal a day.
Schäfer said the Head of Department wrote to school principals on Friday 3 April, asking them to prepare to reintroduce the school feeding as early as this week. “This is a very complex matter since schools are still closed for learners.”
Problems they have to overcome include how to feed learners who do not attend their nearest school but schools outside of their neighbourhood, as well as rural learners who live far from their schools; social distancing while collecting meals; and the distribution of takeaway meals or food parcels.
Another big issue is the safety of learners travelling home with food parcels and as well as that of feeding volunteers.
The issuing of travel permits to volunteers and school staff who are required to manage the process also needs to be addressed.
The district offices will communicate with each school as plans regarding the school are finalised. “This includes the days of distribution at the various schools. In most cases it is expected that schools will feed on Wednesday and Friday in the week starting 6 April, and on the Tuesday and Friday in the week starting 13 April.”
However, some schools might wish to feed daily on week days from Wednesday 8 April. She said this decision will be taken by individual schools and communicated to their school communities, depending on circumstances on the ground.
Learners will not sit down to eat, but are to collect the food in a container and leave, still keeping to the rules of social distancing.
Schäfer said the school closure declared by the President is an extended holiday, but the ‘lost’ teaching days will be made up during the rest of the year.
“We were thus unable to use our existing National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) funding to assist during the lockdown, as we need these funds to continue feeding learners when the ‘lost’ days are made up later.
We have been working with our Department of Social Development, and agreed that, if we could obtain the additional funding, we would be able to provide meals to as many of our NSNP learners as we can during this uncertain time.”
She also expressed her deep appreciation to the 1 010 principals and those staff and food preparers who will be assisting in this humanitarian task to address the feeding needs of many learners.
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