After more than ten weeks of lockdown, South Africa is slowly returning to normal life. Meanwhile, children and staff in St. Joseph have to maintain a strict health protocol. This also means adjusting to a new reality.For now, we don’t have any Covid-19 infections in our children’s home – neither members of our staff nor any children have tested positive for the virus. For this, we are grateful. But while most South Africans are slowly trying to get back to normal life under Level 3 of the national lockdown, we continue to choose the safest option for everyone involved in St. Joseph. No visitors are allowed at the moment; even biological parents visiting can only talk to their children under monitoring and from a safe distance.
During lockdown levels 5 and 4, we decided to ask our staff to move in with the children in St. Joseph to minimize contact with the outside world. As of now, we are still monitoring their state of health closely. All employees have their temperatures taken every time they enter or leave the premises; everyone with flu-like symptoms must stay in home isolation. It is mandatory to wear face masks and wash hands frequently for the entire time they spend at work. Social distancing is applied whereever possible, and we are working on a solution to homeschool our children within the boundaries of the mission. Many of them have pre-existing conditions, for example HIV or tubercolosis, which increases the danger the virus poses to them.
“With the number of Covid-19 infections still growing, we must take all precautions to keep our children safe”, says Center Manager Sr. Assumpta Hadebe. This means adjusting to a new reality, as the virus will not disappear in the short term.
Text & Photos: ds, shutterstock