Return Of Grade 12s: ‘Proud To Be Covid-19 Matrics’
The Class of 2020 at St Teresa’s High School in Rosebank, Johannesburg, has been dubbed the “Covid-19 Matrics”. Headgirls Brogan Hughes, Robyn Shearer and Busisiwe Khumalo shared their experiences being back at school.
Brogan Hughes said arriving at school for the first time in months felt so strange.
“Everything was the same but it felt so different. I had to constantly sanitise and watch my distance with friends,” she said.
“The brief we got on the rules at the start of the day really cemented the reality that we are the Covid-19 Matrics.”
One of her teachers, Lize Els, made her stop and think about that nickname.
“We are a historic grade who will come out of this stronger and more resourceful than probably any other matric class before us,” Brogan said.
“It made me feel inspired about the label on my matric class instead of averse to it. I’m a Covid-19 Matric and I’m proud of that.”
As soon as Busisiwe Khumalo left the car, it felt like she had been transported straight into a sci-fi movie.
“There were so many processes to go through before I could even greet my friends, not to mention the initial awkward encounter between us when I first saw them. Having to distance was extremely hard—but also exceptionally hilarious,” she said.
“Instead of comparing weekends, we were comparing our body temperatures—how insane? But through all that, I still felt incredibly safe at school. I honestly felt so blessed to be at a school with such dedication to our wellbeing and safety,” Busisiwe said.
For Robyn Shearer, driving into school also felt surreal, having grown accustomed to the comfort of her home during lockdown.
“I was feeling uncertain about going back to school, but after seeing the extensive measures and precautions the school has taken to ensure our safety, however, I was put at ease,” she said.
“Arriving at school and getting our belongings sanitised, standing in a queue to have our temperature taken, greeting friends by tapping feet and having to shout in order to be heard through our masks are new and interesting challenges which our grade is facing and will slowly get used to,” she said.
“We are the Covid-19 Matrics, and through our resilience, hard work, support from our teachers and fellow [students], we will make the best of this situation and leave a legacy unlike any other matric class,” Robyn said.
Principal Elsa de Bod said the high school had undergone deep cleaning and the staff had worked hard to set up workspaces in anticipation of the Grade 12s’ return to the school campus.
“Every precaution was taken to comply with the prescribed standard operating procedures in line with the guidelines set by the government, Department of Basic Education and the World Health Organisation,” she said.
“Daily sanitisation schedules have been created, and parents have received permits as well as documentation containing all relevant details and precautions to be followed by the school, parents and girls,” Mrs Bod said.
For learners who have elected to remain at home, St Teresa’s online learning programme continues.