It has been 60 days since the State of Disaster was declared and the lockdown began. The country has been thrown into turmoil and many people have been affected, either directly or indirectly, in order to protect the health of our citizens.
Last week, the Minister of Basic Education announced that staff would return to schools on the 25th May and that Grade 7 learners were to return on the 1st June, provided that schools were rendered safe.
To this end, the Department of Education were to ensure that our schools were cleaned, that our staff and pupils were issued with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that it was safe to send staff and pupils back to school.
The PPE was meant to be supplied to schools before the 25th May which did not happen. I have asked my staff not to return to school until such time as I have received adequate sanitizing liquid, masks and safety wear to ensure their health is not compromised.
The School Management Team and the SGB have had numerous meetings, both physical and remotely to discuss the safest way forward for our pupils and staff. We have compiled a policy document with a detailed plan for the return of our pupils in order to ensure that every effort is made to ensure their safety.
I can understand the anxiety that many parents are feeling with regard to pupils returning to school and I wish to share with you, the plans which are in place for the safe return of our pupils and staff:
· Face shields for all staff members have been procured for teaching purposes.
· All staff (educators and non-educators) have cloth masks.
· The school has purchased 10 infra-red “no-touch” thermometers for use at school and at the hostel.
· All people entering the school/hostel grounds will be subject to a rigorous screening process and all information will be recorded.
· All pupils will be issued with a tag containing a QR code to present on entry. This QR code will contain background information of the pupils and will be transferred to a spreadsheet each day to register how they are feeling. Any learner presenting with a raised temperature or symptoms of Covid19 will immediately be placed in isolation and the parents and the Department of Health will be contacted.
· All Grade 7 learners will be issued with two cloth masks and hand sanitizers will be available in all classrooms.
· There will also be hand sanitizers and gel soap at all bathrooms.
· Hands-free, foot operated sanitizing stands have been placed at all entrance/exit points around the school.
· All non-educator staff (grounds, hostel and admin) will receive training and will also be issued with PPE.
· All classrooms, bathrooms and offices have been sanitized and will be properly sanitized at the end of each day.
· Bathrooms and frequently used surfaces will receive regular de-sanitization throughout the day.
· I will be corresponding with all Grade 7 parents, the procedure for their return to school next week.
· All staff and Grade 7 learners have been sent an online survey to gauge their health and concerns.
· The school Covid19 Committee have drawn up a set of policies and rules, together with plans to ensure that we cover all risk areas.
· Lines have been painted with 1,5m spacing to ensure that social distancing is maintained at lines. Staff who are not required to teach have been allocated duties to assist in monitoring and encouraging the pupils to abide with the rules.
· Our Kudu Calf parents will be contacted to collect work booklets from the hostel complex grounds. This will be done on Friday morning from 07:30 until 10:00am. Parents will not be allowed to get out of their car. They will be asked to collect from their child’s teacher who will indicate that they have collected and then they will drive out through the far end of the complex.
From the information listed above, you can be assured that we take seriously the health and safety of our staff and pupils. Parents are, however, requested to continue to educate their child on the Covid19 pandemic, on how the virus is spread and on how to ensure that they protect themselves and those around them at all times.
I would like to thank those parents who have continued to stay up to date with the payment of school fees. We have managed to continue to pay the salaries of our staff, but we will not be able to keep this up if parents don’t all stay up to date. The bursar’s office will be open from the 1st June for payment of school fees. Please be advised that there will be a limit to the number of parents allowed into the foyer at any time. NO MASK NO ENTRY! Parents can still make payment through an EFT.
I would like to also thank all parents and pupils who have continued to remain positive with regards to their child’s academic work. Staff will continue to offer online tuition and work will continue to be set for the boys. With staff being able to work from school, it will make it easier to share the work online. The boys have been given a two week break from work and they will continue to receive work from the 1st June.
I will continue to keep parents updated as circumstances change and as more Grades are allowed back into the system.
Please continue to follow the regulations, stay safe and I look forward to welcoming all our boys back to school in the not too distant future.
The teachers are missing the face to face contact with our boys!