Letter from the principal 11 november 2020

BY Mrs K. Stear

Letter from the Principal – 11 November 2020
Dear Parents and Learners
The academic year is fast drawing to an end. We hope and pray that 2021 proves to be a far gentler year and the girls of Riebeek College can return to a more normal way of schooling. Unfortunately, time will tell.
As you are aware, the number of COVID-19 cases has escalated in the past weeks as we enter our second wave of the pandemic. Riebeek has not been untouched by this second wave and we have three learners who have recently tested positive. It is very important that parents report positive cases to the school as early as possible.
The email from MR HM MWELI, DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the Department of Education, of 9 November containing Circular E31 of 2020 states:  Identification of Positive Cases and Legal Responsibility - “The parents, care-giver or a designated family member that intentionally conceals the COVID-19 positive status of the candidate in their care will face legal consequences should it be later revealed that this information was wilfully withheld by the parent.”
Please do not withhold a positive diagnosis from the school.  Should a learner be isolating or test positive, we will require a medical certificate or proof of a positive test should a test be missed.  I remind you that a learner may not progress or be promoted to the next grade without a full portfolio of assessment or, for missed tests/assessments, a medical certificate. 
The teaching staff and I have found that the learners tend to have a more casual approach to the protocols of dealing with the virus, especially the need for social distancing. I remind all learners that masks must be worn over the nose and under the chin, learners must practice social distancing at school and elsewhere.  Windows in venues must be open.  I do not want to hear of classes complaining to teachers about windows being open when ventilation is an important Covid-19 safety protocol.  We are seeing learners being slack about the protocols and this is not acceptable. 
I wish to insist that there be NO stigmatisation, rumours or slander related to learners who test positive.  A medical diagnosis is a confidential matter and not one that should be discussed by others. 
It is important that textbooks be returned on the day of the last examination or test in that subject with the name and surname appearing in the book.  If the book has been lost, parents will need to pay the replacement cost of the book. Books will not be issued to learners in 2021 who have not returned ALL their textbooks, or who have not paid for the replacement of a lost book. An additional administrative burden is placed on the teachers when books are not handed in on the correct day. 
I also want to remind all learners to be courteous and respectful, and to obey instructions given by the teachers.  We are noting a slackness and even rudeness in the behaviour of some learners as the year draws to a close, but good manners have no expiry date.
The Clothing Shop will not be opening in 2020 as a precaution related to the rise in Covid-19 cases in the Eastern Cape. Learners will return to school in civvies at the start of 2021 until they have had sufficient time to stock up on school uniform needs.
The details of the SPCA SUMMER RAFFLE can be found on the d6 and on Facebook.  Please support this worthy cause. There are amazing prizes up for grabs! The raffle will run until 10 December.
Over the last few days, we have been able to issue some academic and sporting awards in the junior and high school.  We were not able to award all the normal awards, and limited the awarding to where we were able to identify a candidate in spite of the challenges of Covid-19. I will host a slot where learners may collect their certificate from me at a designated time so that I can personally congratulate them. Recipients may collect their certificates at the office and if they are unable to make it.  I realise parents and learners may be disappointed that there is no ceremony, but I wish to appeal to you to rather focus on the fact that we were able and willing to identify recipients rather than focussing on what we cannot offer. Congratulations to the recipients. I hope your parents will make a fuss and have a family ceremony at home. 
It is very important for the Grade 11s to understand fully that they cannot change subjects in Grade 12 in 2021 under ANY circumstances.  Subject changes can be made this year until not later than the 26 November.  In the case of Grade 10 subject changes, learners must submit by 26 November. They then have ONE more chance by the end of Term 1 of Grade 11 in 2021. 
PUNCTUALITY in fetching learners is ESSENTIAL.  We cannot have learners waiting outside the school for transportation as this can lead to a super-spreader event when learners congregate together in this way.  Please make sure transport is PROMPT. 
We have noted a decline in the number of parents and learners who have downloaded the d6.  The d6 is an important tool for communication and I appeal to all learners and parents to make sure they can access information on the d6.  We have had miscommunication and misunderstanding where learners and parents have not read important information supplied on the d6 and this leads to assumptions that could be avoided if all kept abreast of what we need you to know. 
REPORTS will be handed out on 15 December in allocated time slots which will be communicated to you closer to the time. 
Yours sincerely
Mrs K. Stear

 November 11, 2020
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