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letter from the principal 10 july 2020

BY Mrs K. Stear

Letter from the Principal
10 July 2020
Dear Parents and Learners
We welcomed back our Grade 6 and 11 learners this week. The girls quickly adapted to the new normal and we welcomed them warmly and with great care to reassure them. The learners will need to spend time this weekend reading the protocols and orientation notes to ensure they understand the importance of social distancing, mask wearing and safety measures put in place. We thank Miss Nerine Loock, our consulting psychologist, for meeting with the learners on their first day. Miss Loock is available for consultations should parents wish to seek assistance with subject choices, career choices and / or emotional wellbeing.
The dates for the restart of schooling for some grades has been changed again! The Minister of Basic Education published new directions for the restart on Tuesday 07/07/2020. These amended dates for reopening of grades are:
July 6 - Grades R, 6 and 11;
July 20 - Grades 3 and 10;
July 27 - Grades 1 and 2;
August 17 - Grades 4 and 9;
August 31 - Grades 5 and 8.
In addition, the Department of Education Eastern Cape issued Instruction Note 37 on Sunday, 5 July. This has different dates for the phasing in of learners. We are monitoring the possible phasing in dates and will keep you informed.
Our original intention had been for Grade 10 and 11 to alternate weeks when they were scheduled to be phased in at the same time. This had to be changed last week when dates were changed at national level. Therefore, Grade 11s continue with school from 13 July to 20 July and do NOT have a week off. Grade 10s do NOT attend school from 13 July to 20 July as originally planned. We welcome Grade 10 learners back on Monday 20 July, unless there are again changes. Should we welcome Grade 10 learners back on Monday 20 July, then the Grade 11s will be at home for the week of 20 July to 27 July. We will communicate further, closer to the time, which grades are rotating in which weeks thereafter.
For Grade 10s, greater detail on the times and other useful information will be communicated closer to the time. The timetable and protocols can be found on the d6.
Every day at school for a learner is a precious chance to enhance her education and marks. It should not be spent sleeping or wishing the time away, as there is no certainty when next the grade can be accommodated with a slot of being at school nor can we predict whether a learner may need to quarantine or self-isolate. Make the most of every lesson and every day at school!
When we speak of a grade returning, it is important to remember that school will not be as normal because attending school daily is not guaranteed due to space constraints created by the need for social distancing, and manpower is limited. All grades will spend considerable time at home on a rotational basis.
I suggest that the learners create a routine for themselves to make the transition back to school easier. Sleeping in late in the morning is not an option. Slacking off, not doing work, pretending to not know there is work, choosing to not have work collected from the school, avoiding the d6 and the subject or class WhatsApp groups are not mature nor responsible courses of action. Having said that, we salute the learners who are working hard and, in doing so, showing their fortitude and positive work ethic.
The teaching staff and I are concerned about the number of learners who request hard copies of work, and then these are not collected from the guard at the front of the school. The teachers have bent over backward to help learners, and parents and learners need to now become part of the education process and ensure that the hard copies of work are collected on the correct dates and times. A reminder that work being set aside for the learner needs to be arranged with the Grade Head and is not an automatic process for those not at school, but one that is pre-arranged with 48 hours’ notice of the need for notes.
I encourage the girls to make sure that when they do hand in a piece of work for marking, or write a test, that it is work worthy of them and that it will gain them a good mark for their SBA (School Based Assessment). In these uncertain times, one does not know what is going to be needed to be promoted to the next grade. These SBA marks may well become even more important for promotion to the next grade in 2021.
These are extremely stressful times that we are living in and I know that parents, learners and teachers are anxious and sometimes overwrought, but I ask you to please be courteous when making enquiries. Far more is gained by polite, civil interaction. Give us the benefit of the doubt, as we always give you the benefit of the doubt.
I wish to appeal to learners to be polite, ethical and considerate in their interactions with teachers, particularly in terms of the WhatsApp groups. Please communicate with your teachers with the correct formal language usage and respect. These groups have been useful and necessary, but they blur the lines of a teacher’s personal life versus work commitments. Please respect the teacher’s family time by not expecting answers late at night or during weekend family time, unless there is an emergency. General questions not specific to the subject or class that the WhatsApp group is intended for should be directed through the correct channels. The school telephone number is 041 9922442 and the school email address is info@riebeekcollege.co.za.
Grade 12s are requested to have their ID or birth certificate with them at school from 13 to 20 July as it is possible that eLearning material will be delivered. However, we caution against any matrics getting their hopes up as it is not a certainty that they will be coming to the school in that week and it is not a certainty that they will supply to every learner in the province. We are unable to answer questions as to what will happen if a matric is not at school on that date and time to receive it, should it happen, as we have no control of the systems put in place and we will all have to wait patiently for answers to the many questions the Grade 12s have expressed.
Learners presently at school may bring a plastic sheet or table-cloth to place on desks / chairs if there is a concern about clothing being stained by the sanitization.
As we perfect the screening procedures in the mornings and determine workable entry times, we wish to appeal to parents and learners to note the correct timing for entry to the building, having completed the screening questionnaire: Grade 12 at 7.20. Grade 11 at 7.55, Grade 6 and 7 at 7.40.
There will be a compulsory handing in of completed work and a hard copy collection for Grades 4 and 8 on Thursday 16 July and for Grades 5 and 9 on Friday 17 July. These slots for collections and handing in of SBA tasks are from 8.30 to 9.30 at the end of the parking lot. Subject teachers will indicate what should be handed in. Entry is via the Centenary Gates, the main gate, and the exit is through the pedestrian gate.
Please look after yourselves and stay safe.
Kind Regards
Mrs K Stear
PRINCIPAL

 July 10, 2020
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2020
Mrs K. Stear

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