Principal's letter of 23 september

BY Mrs K. Stear

                                                                                                                                                23 September 2020
Dear Parents and Learner
Last week the President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that the country will move to Level 1 of lockdown at midnight on Sunday 20 September 2020. In effect, for schools, this means that COVID-19 Regulations and protocols pertaining to all schools will still remain in place. There have been a few cosmetic changes in the document outlining the Standard Operating Procedures for the Management and Containment of Covid-19 in Schools and School Communities, but these will not affect Riebeek College as we had planned ahead and were able to implement most of these measures:
·       Schools may now implement a 100% attendance per class and grade, providing that the proper social distancing can be maintained in classroom and other common spaces. This, however, still does not mean we can have all grades back at the same time as the classrooms are not large enough to accommodate one class with sufficient distancing and so we had to be innovative in what venues we could utilize.
·       Where applicable, and where schools have the necessary facilities and can maintain social distancing, schools may implement a full-time curricular time-table. Due to the aforementioned measures, Riebeek has been able to implement a full-time Curricular time-table for each grade, as they returned to school, from the word go. This has been of tremendous value in the consolidation and remediation of work done through distance learning.  However, we are still limited in not being able to accommodate more grades at a time.
·       Schools may fill facilities such as a hall up to 50% of its capacity, with a maximum of 200 persons allowed in such a facility. This is one of the negative aspects of the regulations, unfortunately, as this means that we will not be able to hold traditional prize-giving ceremonies. However, we are planning to award some non-academic awards with an online announcement to recognize those girls who have made us proud. It is particularly difficult to award academic awards as the work done this year excluded examinations which are the truest criteria of academic excellence.  We are hoping that we will be able to use the end of year results as a basis for some possible academic awards in the new year.
Our traditional Valedictory Ceremony for the Matrics, scheduled for 23 October 2020, will also be in a smaller format than in the past, sadly, due to the present regulations and will be held outdoors. Parents of our Grade 12 learners will be informed regarding this very soon. It is also traditional for the Mother-Daughter luncheon to be held after the Valedictory Ceremony. I encourage mothers to form your own smaller groups for luncheons as the school will be unable to find a venue that can hold all the mothers, daughters and staff while still adhering to social distancing protocol.
The annual Matric Dance will take place on Friday 11 December 2020, subject to there not being a second wave of the pandemic, and will be held at Arabest. Again, further information regarding this glittering occasion will be communicated to parents closer to the date.
Other regulations and protocols that, of necessity, remain the same:
·       Any learner / staff member / visitor showing any symptom will not be allowed to enter the buildings.
·       Masks are to be worn at all times.
·       Social distancing is to be practiced at all times.
·       Hand-washing and sanitising protocols will continue as before.
·       All persons entering the buildings will be screened as before.
·       Entry into the school and school grounds may only be by appointment, even for departmental officials. (Please refer to the attached excerpt from the departmental SOP).
·       In effect, we need to continue in the same way as for Levels 5 down to 2 if we are to ensure regulations and protocols are met.  This requires us all to not become complacent. 
The Matric Trial Examinations are in full swing at present and all has run smoothly. I pray that it may remain this way. I wish to compliment the Matrics on their spirit during these stressful days, but also wish to remind them that sacrifices must be made from now to the end of the final examinations. This means that socializing must be kept to a minimum and studying, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and exercise should be their sole focus.  These exams finish on Wednesday 7 October and the Matrics may stay at home on the 8 and 9 of October, but MUST return to school on Monday 12 October. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
This week saw the Grade 7 and 5 learners back at school, as well as the Grade 10s and 8s. Next week, Grades 6, 4, 10 and 8 will attend school.  
With the Department of Basic Education issuing an instruction that teachers with comorbidities should return to school on 21 September, we believe that those who have been home schooled should also consider that it may be time for their return.  If learners are not returning yet, I appeal to our parents to support the staff fully by making sure work is being done and tasks done on time. 
Grade 10 and 11 learners will no longer be writing examinations but will be writing controlled tests. In effect, this is a cosmetic change resulting only in a slight reduction in the length of the papers and we will run a Grade 10 and 11 controlled test programme, previously seen as an examination programme, from the start of November.  Grade 10 and 11 learners need to start considering seriously whether to drop a subject or subjects by the 1 December this year.  Forms can be collected from the Grade Head.  
Grade 9s still have time to make their subject choices and we encourage parents and learners to read the subject booklet on the d6 and distributed on the first day back at school for advice.  There will be a recommendation sheet in each report envelope indicating a recommendation, where possible, for Accounting, Mathematics and Science. 
We congratulate our Grade 4s on their excellent #JerusalemaDanceChallenge.
I wish you all a very happy Heritage Day on Thursday and I certainly hope that many of you can spend it with your families, possibly having a braai or social gathering.  I remind you all that there is no school on Friday – staff will be involved in staff development online on this day.
Stay well and stay safe.
Kind Regards
Mrs K Stear

 September 23, 2020
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