letter from the principal 28 may 2020

BY Mrs K. Stear

Dear Grade 7s and 12s and other Riebeek Learners and Parents
You may be feeling many emotional responses about returning to school. You may be experiencing fear and anxiety or excitement and joy, and these emotions may jump from positive to negative repeatedly. This is perfectly normal and you should be kind to yourself about conflicting emotions. The first day, particularly, may be quite confusing and unsettling to you so be patient with yourself and be kind to those around you.
It is important, though, to prepare yourself for your return by doing the following:
Practice: Practice washing your hands for 30 seconds with warm water and making sure the soap reaches your fingertips and around your thumbs. Familiarise yourself with a distance of 1.5 metres so that it becomes second nature to know the right amount of distance to have. Practice wearing a MASK and putting it on and taking it off in the correct way. These procedures can be found in the document on the d6 entitled Covid Guide for Parents and Learners.
Clothing: Remember you can wear civvies on your return. Organise your comfortable clothes and pack away your revealing or unsuitable clothing. You need to be comfortable and you need to be warm. Windows will be open in all venues for ventilation so make sure you have a warm jacket. You can also wear your school tracksuit or school uniform but then it can only be worn again once washed. Every item you wear to school needs to be washed before you wear it to school again. Beanies and caps will not be allowed. Practical shoes are needed. Clothing for sitting on the ground at break are needed.
A mask for the first day and mask protocol: You need a mask to wear to school on the first day as you must arrive wearing one. Once you have been screened, you will be issued with masks but you need your own for a while on your first day. You may want to rather wear your own masks. Remember that masks also need to be washed daily and to be ironed, preferably
Screening Questions: You will fill in a screening form at least once a week, on a Monday. Familiarise yourself with the screening questions so you can answer efficiently. The questions are: (although these may change from time to time.)
Do you have a fever?
Do you currently have a cough, or have you been coughing in the last three days?
Do you currently have a sore throat?
Are you regularly experiencing a shortness of breath?
Do you currently have any body aches?
Do you have any loss of smell?
Are you currently experiencing a loss of taste?
Do you feel weak and tired today?
Have you had direct contact with someone who has had Covid-19 symptoms in the last 14 days?
If you answered yes to the above questions, please provide details.
Start of Day procedures: Know the procedures for your arrival; have your mask on, a pen in your hand (and, on Mondays, something to press on) when you arrive. Grade 12s will start between 7.20 and 7.40 with lining up in the car park. Grade 7s will start from 7.50 to 8.10 with lining up in the car park. Grade 12 learners should be dropped at the main gate only. Grade 7 learners should be dropped off at the pedestrian gate only. Line up with 1.5 metres distance between you by standing on the markers on the floor. You will walk on a sanitising mat to clean your shoes before you enter the building. On entering the foyer, you will follow the arrows on the floor. You walk along the aisle and under the thermal scanner that is mounted on the ceiling. The temperature reading appears on a screen in the office. When you get to the tables, you will sign for your personal protection equipment on the first day, hand in your screening form and be directed to a venue. You will put out your hands to have your hands sanitised on arrival at the venue. Look at the entrance to the venue to see if there are any notes you must collect. You immediately take your seat. At the end of the lesson, you hand in any work that is due by placing it on the table. Make sure your name and surname appears on any work you hand in. On your first day back, you will receive an orientation manual and a presentation on procedures and Miss Loock, our consulting psychologist, will visit each class for a grounding briefing and to set the tone for a great return to school.
Automatic Sanitation Dispensers: You will notice a white pipe with a pedal at the bottom and a spout. You press the pedal and the sanitiser squirts out the spout at the top. These will be placed at the entrance to the school for your use and at various other places.
Break Times: At break times, you have break in a designated area. If this means you are not with a particular friend for that break, it is merely unfortunate but something you have to accept. Be sure to bring your own lunch and water bottle. You will not be allowed to use the staff kitchen or fridge for any items. You will not be allowed to share items. There will be no tuckshop for the first few weeks.
Lockers and storage of items in venues: You may not use your lockers at this stage. All work must come with you to school and go home with you each day.
Regulation Violations: Remember that violations of the Covid-19 regulations can result in you being sent home, so you must follow the instructions given to you carefully.
Daily Procedures: At the start of every lesson, you will need to offer your hands for sanitizer to be sprayed on. Rub it in well and do not wipe your hands on your clothes to dry them.
A Pen: You need a pen with you at all times. This pen will be used for filling in the screening document, signing for receipt of items, signing in and out of the venue for going to the bathroom. No sharing of pens is allowed. You may want to get a pen on a lanyard for this purpose.
If you are not returning to school at this stage, parents need to send a letter to the school via stating a reason. There is a lot of information about non-attendance at school in the document Covid-19 guide for parents and learners on the d6. The most important thing though is that we receive notification of your non-attendance. We will attempt to still provide work and to accommodate you staying at home but there may be a delay in you receiving the work and the girls at school doing the work. You will need to be patient as we make arrangements. You will also need to keep checking the d6. You will also need to work steadily and independently at home accessing resources that have been made available by the Department of Education. There is a list on the d6 of the websites you could visit. In terms of assessment, we will treat this as we do for absent learners. This means the work would be handed in on your return or arrangements made on your return for this work. All these arrangements can be discussed further once things have settled down and we get clearer direction. Please see the circular from the Department of Education related to school attendance exemption under RESOURCES on the d6. There is a form that needs to be filled in and submitted for non-attendance.
Movement: Learners must not access parts of the school not in use. Designated areas have been allocated and will be sanitised daily. Learners should not access other areas. Physical distancing must be observed at all times, even at break and home time. Learners need to co-operate with the teachers who will accompany them to break, between lessons, during break and after school.
Co-operation: Teachers will be working full speed to catch up work with great enthusiasm. It is vital that learners co-operate at all times. The actions of learners who forget books, work, notes at home will result in a loss of quality, valuable teaching time. It is important that the girls give their teachers their full support.
Access to Teachers: You may not go the staff room or classrooms out of bounds to see a teacher. In the venues, you may not go to the teacher’s desk to ask a question but must put your hand up to ask the question.
A table-cloth or plastic sheet: You may bring a covering for the table/s you work at if you wish to ensure peace of mind and additional protection for yourself.
Sanitiser: You are welcome to bring your own sanitiser to school to use after touching a surface. You are also welcome to ask to use the school sanitiser if you have touched a surface if there is not one in the immediate area.
Rainy Days: You will need an umbrella on days when rain is predicted.
Ablution Facilities: Please wait outside the ablution facilities on the demarcated lines until it is suitable to enter the ablution facility. Grade 7s will use both cloakroom bathrooms while the matrics will use the upstairs and downstairs ablution facilities situated at the learner entrance. Observe sound hygiene in the bathrooms. No crowding. Please do not vandalise the expensive sanitation equipment installed.
Cell Phones: Cell phones are not permitted on the school grounds. The policy at Riebeek remains OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND. If you have a cell phone with you, it must be switched off at all times during the school day. Do not share cell phones at all or touch another person’s device.
Joking: Do not make jokes about ill people, what people are wearing, who is not back at school, people who cough or are confused with the new timetables or arrangements. Be kind to everyone around you.
Transport arrangements: Please make sure that your transport arrangements are in accordance with the national regulations related to physical distancing. Transport must drop the learners off at the entrances to the school in North Street and not at the Dunn Road side gates or hostel. Learners may not stay at school after the dismissal time as the school needs to be sanitised for the next day. Transport needs to arrive promptly. If we are to take all these measures and you walk home in close groups then it will be a waste. If you are walking home or awaiting transport, all the same procedures as at school must be observed.
Dismissal Time: Grade 7s will be dismissed at 13.15 and Grade 12s at 13.30. Arrival and departure is from North Street and you will be accompanied to the North Street exit and must leave from there observing physical distancing and transport regulations, wearing a mask and not loitering around.
Procedures to follow when you get home: Take off your shoes at the door before going in and leave them there. Put your book bag down just inside the front door. Sanitise your hands. Remove your mask but touch only the elastic bands or strings. Wash your mask with soap. Take off your outer clothes and put them in the wash. Sanitise your hands. Enjoy a healthy lunch. Take out the books you need and do your homework. Sanitise your hands.
Please make sure you read this letter well. We are look forward to seeing you, Grade 7 and 12 learners! Stay safe.
Kind Regards
Mrs K Stear

 May 28, 2020
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