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

Letter from our Head of Prep – 19 June 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Caregivers

We have now received permission from the Department of Education to implement our proposed phased-in approach to reopening our school. We do still require approval from the Department of Social Development for the reopening of ECD (Grade 00 and 000) classes but are confident that we will be able to obtain this ahead of next term. 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. We are truly grateful for your patience and understanding during these challenging times as we cautiously navigate uncharted waters. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers and staff for their amazing support and effort during this term. I realise that they will once again be called on to prepare, much of this during the holiday, for another adaptation which will continue to demand a great deal of their time and energy.

While there may be some anxiety associated with the phased reopening process we also realise that there will be a great deal of excitement on the part of the pupils and I am sure, on the part of some parents, as the children return to school. It is important that you strongly emphasise to your children that their school experience will feel quite foreign to start with and that they will need to form new habits and routines. It is important that they also realise that the required procedures and protocols will need to be strictly adhered to.

Additional phase-specific information from the Academic Directors will be shared with you in due course and will provide further clarity on what the school day will entail. An easy to follow visual clip will also be shared with each grade ahead of their return to campus.

Staggered reopening

All grades will commence with schoolwork on Tuesday 14 July with some doing this online as before until their return date. The staggered return to the school campus will follow the schedule below:

Date  Grades returning  Times  Drop off and Collection Points
Tuesday 14 July Grade 6 08:00-13:40 Front of school circle
Grade 3 08:30-13:30 Top Pedestrian Gate (Syringa Street)
Grade R 08:30-13:30 Little Oaks side gate
Thursday 16 July  Grade 5 08:00-13:40 Front of school circle
Grade 2 & Grade 1 08:30-13:30 Top Pedestrian Gate (Syringa Street)
Monday 20 July Grade 4 08:00-13:40 Front of school circle
Grade 00 & Grade 000 08:30-13:30 Little Oaks side gate

Please note that this programme remains subject to Covid-19 regulations and changes that may occur in this regard as well as the latest and best advice available from the relevant health authorities.

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. Synchronous engagement will happen via daily teacher interaction and some group meets where appropriate.

We would like to make the onsite school experience as rich and as authentic as is possible by incorporating activities and varied lessons where appropriate. Physical and creative activities will be as engaging or as real as
possible under the circumstances.

Please assist us in our preparation for the return of your child by completing the short survey form by following the relevant link below. If you have children in more than one grade, kindly complete separate surveys for each child.

Covid-19 Protocols

Your children 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 children 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 children 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 work space (the school will provide hand sanitisers for all other key points of entry or high contact areas)
    ● Enter the school via the designated phase specific drop off and collection points and be screened at the designated screening area
    ● Parents are requested to remain in their vehicles for drop off unless directed otherwise when it comes to managing younger children
    ● 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 follow this link Oakhill Procedures on Returning to School.

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.

The children are encouraged to wear comfortable and practical civvies to school. This is done so that we can better monitor that children are wearing a fresh, clean set of clothes each day. Closed shoes are strongly
recommended.

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 children will be screened on entry to the school and before leaving in the afternoon
  • 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 children 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. Children may wait in a supervised waiting venue for their older siblings so as to be collected together
  • 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
  • An adapted physical education programme and break time session will afford the pupils some supervised outdoor time while maintaining the required physical distancing
  • Children must be provided with a packed lunch and a filled water bottle.
  • There will be no tuckshop available at this time.

Your child will require the following for the purposes of returning to school:

  • Bookbag
  • All textbooks and workbooks
  • All stationery
  • Reader
  • Packed lunch and water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer for desk
  • Their own box or packet of tissues
  • 2 face masks
  • Your child will not require: Phys Ed kit, sports equipment or any unnecessary personal items

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 once again for your patience and continued support during these extraordinary times. We wish you and your family strength and health as we all continue to adapt to these challenges.

Have a wonderful and restful holiday.

Kindest regards
James Cross
Head of Prep

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