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Oakhill News
Letter from our Head of College – 19 June 2020

Letter from our Head of College – 19 June 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Caregivers

We finally made it! A term of much uncertainty and change; however, perseverance and grit pulled us through as a community for which we are very grateful. At our live assembly this morning pupils engaged in a reflection in which we looked back over this time and expressed our gratitude and acknowledging how fortunate the majority of us were to have our health, families, a roof over our heads and to continue with being educated especially in light of the big divides that Covid -19 has highlighted both here in South Africa and globally. Pupils also extended their gratitude to their teachers for all their hard work in ensuring that their education continued.

We closed today’s proceedings with a showing of our inter-house open mic sessions. Oakhill pupils certainly have oodles of talent and it was fantastic to see. Thank you to the creative arts department as well as our marketing department for putting together such a memorable experience. A fitting upbeat end to the term! Here is the link if you would like to watch: Oakhill Has Talent. The opening scene with the Grade 8 and 9’s having some fun line dancing is a shortened version and we will be showcasing many more of them in an expanded video on Oakhill’s Facebook page during the holidays. Watch this space!

Term 2 Reports

Mark review meetings were held over the last two days as well as today and student’s reports will be issued on Tuesday, 23 July. It is important to remind ourselves that it has been an extraordinary term. Whilst the majority of pupils adapted very well to the online platform, some did find it challenging which was reflected in their results. Submission of work and organisational issues proved to be the main issues. Grade mentors and mentor teachers will be in contact with parents to set up meetings to see where we can best provide support in the new term. These meetings will take place in the second week after the return to school.

Matric programme (7-9 July)

The Matrics have some additional sessions scheduled for the last week of the holidays. Please see the following dates and times for planning purposes:

  • 7 July – 08:30 -10:30: Pit Produksie screening in the Hall; 11:00: Grade 12 Drama practical
  • 8 July – 08:30 onwards: English and Afrikaans Orals
  • 9 July  – 08:30 onwards: English and Afrikaans Orals
Return to school (14 July)

We have now received permission from the Department of Education to implement our proposed phased-in approach to reopening our school. While this has been a lengthy and, at times frustrating process, we are very excited about the prospect of welcoming pupils back to school in Term 3.

All grades will commence with schoolwork on Tuesday 14 July with some doing this online whilst others onsite. To meet the Covid-19 protocols, only two and a half grades of the college will be coming onto campus per day alternating each day e.g. Monday: Grade 12, 9 and 8A; Tuesday: Grade 10; 11 and 8B; Wednesday: Grade 12; 9 and 8A and so forth. A detailed timetable will be communicated on 10 July.

The usual starting time of 07.40 will be implemented again, with the screening process taking place between 07:00 and 07:40 to facilitate a staggered entry onto campus. Drop off and collection will be at the main circle on campus.

As previously communicated, we are mindful that each family, student, and teacher has unique circumstances that may impact their response to Covid-19 and they may not be able to return to school in the third term. Please complete the following Google form to provide us up to date information on if your child will be returning to school in July, as well as if they have any underlying health issues/comorbidities that we need to be made aware of. If you have children in more than one grade, kindly complete separate surveys for each child. Click here to complete the survey.

While we are committed to ensuring that all our children are able to access our programme even if they are unable to return to school at this point, we realise that there will be some differences in the experience. The children who will continue with the online or distance programme will have access to all content and instruction with most of this happening asynchronously. As in the second term, the synchronous engagement will happen via daily teacher interaction and group meets where appropriate.

Covid-19 Protocols

College pupils will undergo a Covid-19 orientation or induction briefing on arrival at school in which the protocols will be explained and safety procedures stressed. During this briefing pupils will be given information regarding:

  • Measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus
  • Practising good hygiene and following regular hand washing regimes
  • Wearing of cloth face masks throughout the school day and the use of hand sanitisers
  • The screening process each morning and during the day
  • Physical distancing requirements
  • School venues and classroom procedures and protocols
  • Physical distancing during breaks and the use of the bathrooms

In addition to these measures on-campus pupils and parents are requested to adhere to the following:

  • Wear cloth masks and practice physical distancing to and from school
  • Ensure that children have their own personal hand sanitiser for their workspace (the school will provide hand sanitisers for all other key points of entry or high contact areas)
  • Enter the school via the main circle on campus for all drop off and collection and be screened at the designated screening area
  • Parents are requested to remain in their vehicles for drop off
  • Parents are asked to enter the campus by appointment only and follow the mandatory screening process

For additional information and a useful guide to our school protocols and procedures please read our Oakhill Covid-19 protocols and procedures document. All communication is available on our website should you wish to refer to it again in the future.

It is critically important that your child stays at home if they are in any way unwell or are presenting with any of the Covid-19 symptoms. Parents are also advised to closely monitor their child’s temperature and general health prior to them returning to school. Please notify the school should you or a family member test positive for Covid-19 or are suspected of having Covid-19.

It is strongly advised that your child prepares for the return to school by wearing the appropriate face masks for long periods of time before they return to school. This will help children adapt to this potential distraction that may feel uncomfortable at first but will need to remain in place during the school day. Please note the following regarding the school day:

  • All pupils will be screened on entry to the school and before leaving in the afternoon
  • Grade 8 and 9 pupils will be based in a “home classroom” during lessons with teachers moving venues rather than pupils
  • The pupils will follow an adapted online timetable
  • There will be a staggered start and end to the school day so that we can manage the movement of pupils on campus and the flow of traffic to and from school
  • No pupil will be permitted on the campus before 07:00 and not more than an hour before the scheduled start of their school day
  • Pupils must be collected promptly at the end of their scheduled school day so that our cleaning and sanitation programmes can be implemented.
  • Pupils that arrive early at school will be directed to a supervised waiting venue where they will be required to stay until the start of the school day
  • Physical distancing will be strictly monitored at collection and drop off times
  • Movement in and around the campus will be limited to particular zones and will be supervised by staff
  • Pupils must be provided with a packed lunch and a filled water bottle.
  • There will be no tuckshop available at this time.

As your child returns to school, we would like to emphasize the most important aspects for minimizing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. These are social or physical distancing, hand washing, wearing cloth face masks and limiting movement. Please assist us in stressing these key points and important habits with your children.

Thank you

I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our teachers, you are incredible! Your passion for teaching as well as your commitment to ensuring the best of all our pupils is truly admirable. I would also like to thank our administrative and support staff for all their efforts behind the scenes that keep our school running so well. In closing, we would like to thank our parents for the invaluable support they have provided their children as well as the school as we undertook this online journey. We look forward to your continued support as we cautiously and gradually start reopening the school in July.

Have a wonderful and restful holiday.

Kindest regards
Wayne Purchase
Head of College

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