24 March 2021

Earlier this month PatchSA Training Manager, Tracy Rawlins, spent a morning providing support to the matric students at St Monica’s Diocesan Secondary School in Matatiele

Last year Patch was approached by St Monica’s Diocesan to talk to the Grade 12 class on Covid-19 and how it was affecting them and their final year. Teachers had identified that a number of matric learners were not coping well with this transition to the new normal and they were keen to assist these learners where possible. Tracy Rawlins, who facilitated the talk, reported that the presentation was well received by the learners and when looking through the questionnaire completed by the learners, she identified that many of them were not coping well and in need of extra support and assistance.

Seven learners had lost immediate family members due to Covid-19

In preparation for the 2021 school year the teachers once again approached Tracy to talk to their matric learners. Tracy reports that, sadly, seven of the present learners had lost immediate family members over the past few months due to Covid-19.

The talk Tracy gave included information on the transmission of the corona virus, the concept of total suffering, dealing with loss and grief, adversity, developing resilience and coping skills and how to move forward in these uncertain times. The talk also included a number of interactive activities such as making the corona virus from play dough, a coping continuum activity and a questionnaire to assist them to identify where they find themselves emotionally and when to seek further support.

After the presentation, Tracy had this to say, “I believe the pupils are grieving many losses that a normal school year would have afforded them and at the same time they are also trying to cope and adjust to a new way of schooling. I feel there is a great need for schools to recognise that there are some pupils who are not coping emotionally during these uncertain times and that they do need extra support – whether it be group counselling, one on one counselling or even the support of psychologists.”