letter from the principal 7 december 2020

BY Mrs K Stear

                                                                                                                                                7 December 2020
Dear Parents
This year has certainly been a very difficult year for us all. We have faced challenges that we would never have thought possible and we have finally come to the end of the academic year, except for the matrics, who were due to finish on Friday 11th December. Unfortunately, it is expected that certain matrics will be rewriting Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 on 15 and 17 December due to the leaking of the paper in certain provinces.  We wish our Science and Mathematics matrics the best of luck in their preparation for these examinations and encourage them to see this as a second chance to obtain the marks desired rather than allowing resentment or negativity to simmer and distract.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have experienced health scares, work insecurity, loss of family and increased anxiety and uncertainty. We are immensely grateful to our staff who have made many personal sacrifices in order to complete the syllabus.  Their data usage at home and on their cell phones increased dramatically this year, as has their resilience, patience, invasion of their time at home, and expectations of them.  I cannot begin to express our gratitude to the staff who have rallied together to excel in spite of the circumstances.  I pay huge tribute to the Riebeek Staff who work tirelessly in the interest of all the girls. They go beyond the extra mile to give of their best in all spheres of school life.
Thank you to the parents of the school for your support. We appreciate your payment of fees in these very difficult times and for the interest that you show in the school and your daughter.
We are indebted to our active and committed School Governing Body members who give much of their time and expertise to the school. This year has required more from them than at any other time.
Farewell to staff members:
At the close of this year, we bid farewell to Miss H du Preez, who has been teaching high school Afrikaans for 12 wonderful years, as she is retiring. We thank her for her unstinting and valued work with her classes, the Interact Board and Club and in the Library.  No former Library Prefect will forget covering books the du Preez way! She has agreed to return in term one as we search for a new Afrikaans Educator.  We wish her peace and fulfillment in her retirement and we hope that she will return often to visit us.  We also bid farewell to one of our interns, Miss Klaas, and thank her for her vibrant and dedicated contributions over the last two years.  We also bid farewell to Mrs du Plessis and Mrs Evert who have co-ordinated our Clothing Shop for many years, and we express our sincere appreciation to them for their warm and organised approach to the management of this vital service. 
Arrangements for Handing out of Reports on 15 December:
The Department of Education has set out rigid rules regarding school premises given the Nelson Mandela Metro being declared a Hot Spot and therefore every parent and learner must respect our rules regarding the handing out of reports. 
The times for the various grades are:
Grade 4 and 8:    7:30 – 8:00                                    Grade 5 and 9:    8:15 – 8:45
Grade 6 and 10: 9:00 -9:30                                      Grade 7 and 11: 9:45 -10:15
Please make sure that you stick to your allocated time according to the grade and that only ONE family member per LEARNER visits the school to collect the report.  Should it not be the parent or an adult, then a letter must accompany the person appointed to collect the report. 
The non-negotiable requirements are:
-          Enter through the main gate (the Centenary Gates)
-          Walk down towards the end of the parking lot where the allocated tables are
-          Exit through the pedestrian gate
-          Maintain social distancing at all times
-          Wear a mask
-          Have a pen with you to sign
-          Stick to the correct times
School Magazine:
The school magazine will not be available in hard copy format this year. The magazine is available on our social media platforms and on our website in a digital format.  Should you wish to obtain a copy of the school magazine for your enjoyment and records, you are invited to contact Mrs Gayle Weidemann at  Gale Force Printing and Signage: Tel: 041 922 0101, Cell: 083 447 3907, Email:, Address: 75 Graaff-Reinet Road, Uitenhage.   We extend our thanks to those who contributed to the school magazine. 
Subject Changes – Grade 10 and 11:
I again wish to emphasise the importance of subject changes being made as a matter of urgency.  All paper work must be submitted to the Department of Education District Office.  Grade 12s cannot change subjects in their matric year, so this month is the very last chance for Grade 11 learners. 
Subject Choices – Grade 9:
We note with concern that the subject choices made by the Grade 9s may not be in the best interests of the child.  Where a learner is obtaining low marks in Grade 9, it is very unlikely that a sudden improvement will take place in the FET phase where the work is much harder.  I urge parents to consider having their child tested to facilitate good subject choices.  Please review the report carefully and assess whether the choices made were realistic.
Stationery Lists 2021:
Note that the stationery lists will be in the school report envelope.  Please give your daughter the best start to 2021 by ensuring she has all the necessary stationery.
The Department of Education has indicated that learners must return their textbooks or pay for them in order to receive textbooks the next year.  Please ensure that textbooks are returned or paid for as a matter of urgency. We simply cannot afford to have learners without textbooks in the new year as they will fall behind academically because of an administrative matter not being seen to. 
The importance of the d6 School Communicator and correct details:
In these uncertain times, it is imperative that parents and learners have the d6 School Communicator as we need this to be a primary communication tool. It uses very little data.  Please change your personal settings in the PERSONALISE tab to reflect the new grade your daughter is in in 2021. Please let the school know if there has been any change to your email and contact details as the school must have the correct details. 
Civvies and School Uniform:
Learners should return to school with their hair in a neat hairstyle and with a natural hair colour.  Nails should be short and natural (no artificial nails).  Learners may wear civvies until such time as the school clothing shop opens and parents have sufficient time to stock up on their needs.  We are pleased that our learners have embraced wearing comfortable clothing to school, and wish to reinforce that clothes worn to school must NOT be revealing or inappropriate.  Inappropriate slogans on clothing and masks is not permitted.  A learner may wear her summer school uniform or a school tracksuit if she wishes.
Arrangements for 2021:
 The Department of Education has instructed that Covid-19 protocols will continue in the new year.  This means that school will not be normal next year, although we hope that we will return to normality at some stage.  More details will be shared with you, but here is a basic outline of how school may operate next year.  Grade 4 and 12 learners will be at school every week for at least the first term.  The Grade 5, 6 and 7 learners will attend on a one week off and one week one basis, Grade 8 and 9 attend on alternative weeks based at venues around the hostel, and Grade 10 and 11 will attend school on alternative weeks.  In the week of 25 – 29 January, different grades will be allocated different days and time slots to be at school for an orientation programme and to receive textbooks and some notes in a manner conducive to Covid-19 protocols.  From 1 February, we will begin the timetable with Grade 4, 5,7, 8,10,12 at school.  We will communicate the times and dates when learners must be at school, but it is vital that you NOTE that not all learners will be at school on Wednesday, 27 January, although this is indicated as the start of year on school calendars nationally.  Grades will be called in from 25 January, ie before the official start of school, so please monitor the d6 for this vital information.
Holiday Wishes:
I wish you all a safe time over December.  Note that the peak of the pandemic in the Eastern Cape is expected by some experts to be in the second or third week of December, so it is vital that our girls limit their social life and practice all the safety protocols to ensure a safe return to school in 2021. 
May you all enjoy a blessed Festive Season, a peaceful and relaxing holiday and a wonderful New Year.
Warm Wishes.

 December 07, 2020
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