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Lockdown update

BY Mrs K. Stear

Dear Riebeek Learners and Parents
We are now one week into the enforced nationwide lockdown.  In the pre-coronavirus outbreak timeframe, the schools would have started this week for the beginning of the second term.  The reality is that South Africa is in a total shut down and our schools are closed as our government rolled out drastic measures amid the COVID 19 pandemic.  Schools have been identified as one of the biggest threats in terms of transmission. 
 
There is currently a great deal of uncertainty in the education sector. We do not know when the schools will reopen, we do not know how lost time will be made up. We do not know what the dates of the next quarters will be, etc. We do know that the rest of 2020 will be a disrupted school year, and that many sports, cultural, social and fundraising activities have been postponed or cancelled.  However, I wish to emphasize that the Schools' core business is academia - providing quality education to every learner.  The staff at Riebeek will ensure that the school's core business can be continued successfully with the key words at present being, “learning at home”. We strive to achieve success academically in 2020. Of course, sports, culture and social activities are part of normal schooling, but when we operate under pressure, we must prioritise and make sure that we do everything possible to ensure that education can continue. Abnormal circumstances require abnormal solutions.
Teachers have set work for our learners and this has also been loaded onto the d6. Teachers have, in many cases, been in direct contact with learners via e-mail and WhatsApp. The Grades 4 to 6 parents are especially requested to use this time to do reading, especially shared reading with their children. This will assist their reading skills when they return to formal schooling.
 
A word of caution, social media is at present overflowing with so-called “learning sites” offering assistance. It may be confusing to the learners to make use of all these “helping hands in the cloud” on top of what their teachers have given them. Please be guided by what the teachers have provided to the learners on the d6.
 
Bear in mind that the term dates will be adjusted in July and September and, possibly, December to make up for time lost. This will give the teachers time to revise and remediate the work given over this period. If the lockdown continues, we will extend the “distance learning” as necessary.
 
As the lockdown, as it now stands, will be lifted at midnight on Thursday, 16 April, one can safely assume that schools will not re-open on a Friday, which means that the 20th or 21st of April is the most likely start dates. A circular from the SAOU also thinks this the most likely scenario, with the teachers possibly reporting on 20 April and school re-opening on 21 April. HOWEVER, THIS IS PURE SPECULATION AT THIS TIME. WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED AS WE RECEIVE NEW INFORMATION.
 
Riebeek prides itself on values driven education. We have therefore taught our learners the value of resilience, time management, organizational skills and independence. We therefore believe that our learners are well equipped to settle into a routine at home of working diligently and responsibly, and seeking help from teachers when necessary.  Work should not be left to accumulate as steady and continuous work on a daily basis with self-discipline will be most effective.
 
We are immensely proud of our teachers who have found innovative ways to continue the school work in manageable, constructive ways.  For example, our senior Mathematics learners are writing online tests and our learners are receiving answers to questions to guide them as they go along.  The teachers are also using this time to device innovative catch-up plans.
 
It is important to take care of ourselves spiritually and emotionally and to not let the circumstances beyond our control influence us negatively.  Azraa Rockman, our 2020 Head Girl, wrote eloquently in a letter posted on our facebook page about the importance of the Riebeek Warriors not giving up.  We should guard against panic reactions to fake or hyped news about the academic year.  We should avoid negativity.  Keeping busy with work is a great way to overcome negativity as it allows us to take control. 
 
We thank our parents for supporting the Riebeek learners during this time.
 
It is the goal of Riebeek to successfully complete the 2020 academic year and give every learner a fair chance to pass. We will use all available resources to make this happen.
Stay safe.
 
Mrs K Stear
PRINCIPAL

 April 03, 2020
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2020
Mrs K. Stear

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