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Welcome Letter Term 1 2022 – College

Welcome Letter Term 1 2022 – College

Dear College Parents and Pupils

Welcome back!

As a College, we are happy to be able to welcome our students, new and returning, to a term that will commence as planned on Wednesday, 12 January. Despite the high numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country and our town currently, we are learning to manage the curve balls that this pandemic continues to throw at the world.

As I pen this, we are still at Adjusted Level 1 and 655 days into the National State of Disaster. Therefore, the Covid regulations that were in place in December continue to be relevant:

  • All students will need to report to the relevant screening station on arrival each morning: Grades 8 and 9 will walk up the Eastern walkway and enter the College at the middle doors where the College toilets are located. Grades 10-12 will enter through the front door on the east side (at Mrs Cloete’s classroom). However, please note that on Wednesday, 12 January, we would like the Grade 9s to enter the College quad via the front door and then to move to the GET screening station near the Biology Lab. This will free up the Eastern walkway area for our new families. Grade 8s will gather near the tuckshop area.
  • We are still required to wear masks when in public. This means that the compulsory wearing of masks at school continues.
  • Social distancing remains an important part of our daily routine. Students, please strive to remember this as you move about the school.
  • Parents are reminded that access to the campus remains controlled. If you have an appointment, then please go through the screening process as you arrive on campus, report to the main reception area and you will be directed to your meeting from there.
  • Sports: We will have the necessary Covid regulations in place for practices, and parents are still not allowed as spectators. However, when we return to competitive play, Luke Crawford will guide everyone through the processes allowed at the time.
  • The period of isolation and quarantine remains 10 days from onset of symptoms.

Please follow the link here to revise the Covid-19 regulations and definitions.

The academic school day will begin formally at 07:40 and end at 14:20 each day. Please ensure that your children are dropped off well before 07:30 in order for the screening to be completed before school starts at 07:40.

Most of the staffing structures from 2021 remain in place in 2022:

  • Academic Director: Dr Herman Kitshoff
  • Phase Heads: Mrs Victor (Grades 8 and 9) and Mrs Cloete (Grades 10 – 12)
  • Whole School Sports Director: Luke Crawford

Grade Mentors:

  • Grade 8: Mrs Sonja Victor
  • Grade 9: Mrs Kate Buchanan
  • Grade 10: Mr Kevin Kruger
  • Grade 11: Mrs Anel Swanepoel
  • Grade 12: Mrs Melanie Cloete

A basic rule of thumb to keep in mind when communicating with the school is to approach the relevant subject teacher about a subject-related matter. If you do not feel heard, or the matter is more pastoral in nature, please approach your child’s mentor (and cc the relevant Grade mentor). The matter will be dealt with and forwarded to any other relevant person if necessary.

We warmly welcome Mrs Veronica Ellis into the Afrikaans department and Mrs Kim Baisley into the Life Sciences department. Both have valuable experience teaching in IEB schools. Mrs Ellis has come to us from St David’s Marist Inanda and Mrs Baisley from CBC Mount Edmund Pretoria.

New College students will be welcomed at the College area on the East Walkway before entering the College quad on Wednesday morning. Mentors and other College representatives will be on hand to guide and support our new families. The Grade 8s will gather near the tuckshop where Mrs Victor and her team will welcome and screen the group.

School on Wednesday will begin with Covid-19 screening in the College Quad. At 07:40 students will move directly to their mentor classes where all necessary administration will be completed. Thereafter, we will have a short assembly and an inter-House swimming gala sign-up, followed by the regular academic day, starting with Lesson 3. I encourage anyone who may feel a little uncertain about what to do on campus to discuss specifics with their relevant mentor or subject teacher during the course of this week.

We will continue to run the system of a Morning Memo that will be emailed to all students each morning. It will also be unpacked in the mentor registration class on non-S-Test days. The memo is a guide for the day but also provides topics for discussion on occasion.

The College Standardised Test programme will commence on Wednesday, 19 January. The programme for the term will be issued on the first day of term. Teachers will communicate all details to your children so that they are ready and prepared for the tests.

Last year we worked to address some areas of academic concern. One of these is the matter of how to cope with those who do not meet academic deadlines. Any student who misses a deadline during the course of a week will be required to stay on that Friday afternoon to complete the task and hand it in. Dr Kitshoff and the mentors will unpack the full policy with all College students.

We continue to use Google Classroom to manage the posting of work and other classroom communications.

Teachers are available for extra support if required. A schedule of when each teacher is available will be shared with the students during the course of the week.

We continue to use the ADAM programme to record marks and keep track of trends for each student. You can access ADAM (www.adam.oakhill.co.za) or through the school’s website www.oakhill.co.za. Parents can login using your ID number and cell phone number, and an email will be sent to the registered email we have for you on our system.

I have been asked to refresh everyone’s minds about the late arrival and early leaving procedures:

  • Any student who arrives at school after 07:40 must report to the school main reception area. Mrs Catherine Grootboom, our Academic Secretary, will be operating from there this year. She will screen the student, issue a late slip and mark the person present. The latecomer will deliver the late slip to his/her Mentor Teacher and then proceed to the relevant lesson.
  • If anyone needs to leave early on any day we ask that parents email the Mentor Teacher, the Grade Mentor, and cc Mrs Grootboom. The student can then collect an early leaving slip during mentor registration. When it is time to leave, your child must have the slip signed by the relevant Grade Mentor, the parent collecting the child, and then return the slip to Mrs Grootboom at school reception.
  • In the event of a student falling ill during the day: Once the school has made the decision that your child is indeed sick and should go home, we will call you to arrange a pick up. An early leaving slip will be issued and dealt with as outlined above. (Should we suspect a Covid related illness, your child will be placed in the isolation room until you have fetched him/her)

We are deep into the summer season and I draw your attention to the uniform requirements. Please click here to view the uniform guidelines on the school website.

An Oakhill tradition that we hope to resurrect this term is to have grade meetings where parents are given some information pertinent to the grade of their child. It is also an opportunity to meet each other and the mentors. Details of each meeting will be shared in due time.

Our Grade 8 cohort will be enjoying an induction camp over the coming weekend. This camp will take place in Harkerville focusing on fostering a sense of our Oakhill community spirit of which we are very proud. Mrs Victor has been sharing the necessary information with everyone concerned.

Preparations for the Grade 10 Odyssey experience are underway and this will occur at the end of Term 1. This year, the group will have normal school until 23 February and then go into a period of isolation in preparation for their departure. Therefore, the Grade 10s will be taught online from 24 – 28 February. They depart on their 21-day journey from 1 March. The Odyssey is considered an important part of our offering at Oakhill. We wish all the Grade 10s all the best as they finalise their preparations this term.

We start this year knowing that everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in some way and that the disruption of the past two years will continue into this year. As we continuously adapt, we know that we all need to take care of ourselves, not only physically by following all the regulations, but also emotionally. It is vital that our entire school community strives to support each other, to remain positive, and to communicate constructively.

Wishing our students and their families everything of the best for 2022 and may it be a healthy and productive year.

Kind regards,
Mrs Sharon Brown
Head of College

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Welcome Letter Term 1 2022 – College

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