Storm hammers Sunnyside school

The roof of the administration block at Sunnyside Primary School was blown off during the storm that hit Cape Town on Wednesday June 7.

Exams for pupils at Sunnyside Primary School, in Sunnyside, had to be postponed by a few days after the school’s administration block was damaged by the severe storm that hit Cape Town on Wednesday June 7.

The school had to close its doors to pupils from Wednesday June 7 to Friday June 9, while mopping up operations were under way.

The entire administration block’s roof blew off, and, in the process, all the school’s electronic equipment was damaged, including computers and copy machines.

A few roof sheets were also damaged near the classrooms, and tree branches were blown off. Three classrooms were damaged. By Friday June 9, there were no ablution facilities available to staff.

Pupils returned to school on Monday June 12, after the damaged areas had been secured, so as to not cause any harm.

Acting principal Nathaniel Brache said the start of the examinations had to be postponed until tomorrow (Thursday June 15). “Today the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works came out to assess the damages, and we started with the cleaning up operation. We were told that the school might be provided with mobile units as in interim measure, while repairs are under way,” Mr Brache said on Friday June 9.

The 66-year-old pre-fabricated school has 640 pupils.

When the storm subsided, the school community appealed for help to stop looters.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokeswoman Millicent Merton said extra security measures has been put in place to stop further looting. She added that the debris had all been cleared, and the pupils of the three damaged classrooms would be accommodated in a church building opposite the school until mobile classrooms became available .

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said that by Thursday June 8, a total of 135 schools had reported storm damage to the WCED’s Safe Schools, with 41 reporting roof damage.

Ms Schafer saidmost schools could resume teaching almost immediately.

“There are exceptions at some schools that have been severely damaged by the storm. Our district officials are working with schools to implement contingency plans. Schools have also reported water damage to classrooms, fallen trees and damage to fences.

“The head of the provincial department of transport and public works has activated emergency procurement measures, which will make provision for schools to ensure, as quickly as possible, that facilities are made safe where damage has occurred and allow for minor repairs to prevent further damage to buildings,” Ms Schafer said.