Breathe deep, we’re getting closer to a return towards normality – whatever that may look like! I began a diary for myself on Day 1 Thursday 26 March and by my calculations, today, starting a partial return to school, it will be Day 35 – Wow!
Take a moment to reflect and celebrate the amazing things that you have achieved during this time, that perhaps you’ve been ‘too busy’ to do before – be it sleeping in a fort with your child, learning how to manage an online learning environment or special family moments, such as dressing up for a posh family dinner. In a way, this enforced ‘time-out’ has had a few benefits – one being that it has given us all time to stop and reflect about what is really important to you and your family. My hope is that when we get back to our everyday ‘busyness’, that we continue to include these precious things in our ‘new’ daily lives. For me, this includes time-out to do the things that bring me JOY – my cat seems to think that this is 100% attention to him (wrong).
CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU
I would like to begin by acknowledging how inspirational I think you have all been. Your ability to adapt, to step up, to problem-solve and to share your strength as you support those around you, has been nothing short of STUNNING. This is apparent from the many student (and parent) online posts about learning tasks, Facebook videos and posts from proud parents, as well as emails and phone conversations – I am particularly in awe of all our mums who have had new babies arrive during this time. All of these acts display the strong inner-resilience that you have called upon in these unprecedented times of change.
Know that every little thing you have done towards helping our children walk forward with a sense of calmness and an understanding that no matter what change happens in our lives, we ARE able to embrace it and move forward with confidence and a sense of satisfaction.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thanks to my amazing team who have been working behind the scenes to support our school community. Our teachers have been outstanding, they have met each challenge and new obstacle with a really positive ‘can do’ attitude and have been 100% focussed on your children and how to turn this new learning environment into a wrap-around support system for everyone. Other groups of people from within our community have also supported us during this time and must also be thanked, these include our office manager, caretaker, board of trustees, part-time teachers who have been working online with individuals/groups of students, teacher aides and of course our ASC staff, who have made themselves available to help with reception duties.
I take my hat off to you all!
I myself have been ultra-busy in the background coordinating each step towards our return to school. This has included contracting our cleaners to disinfect all rooms, completion of a full inspection of the property and grounds, completing Ministry access forms to enable service workers to enter the school to prep the boiler heating system, purchase of items such as boxes of sanitiser (liquid gold- I have made a mental note to self – always keep some in stock from now on!), tape and disinfectant, preparing Risk Management forms to satisfy the demands of the MOE, ZOOM sessions with local principals and staff etc. etc. The list is mind-bogglingly endless. I can confidently say, however, that I believe we are now fully ready to be working under Alert Level 3.
WHAT WILL ALERT LEVEL 3 LOOK LIKE FOR US?
As from Wednesday 29 April to Monday 11 May we are open to those students whose families have indicated (via last week’s online survey), that they are required to return to work. All other students will continue with their online/offline learning at home. Our sincere thanks if you are still working from home, as this has enabled us to cater for those who can’t. A reminder, our OSCAR-approved After School Care service is not permitted to operate during Alert Level 3.
If your circumstances changeduring Alert Level 3 and you require your child to return to school PLEASE simply email me at email@example.com or phone 021 215 8000. This will enable us to place your child within a ‘bubble’ and allow time to arrange their workspace, as well as adequate staffing provision.
Under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, we are complying with very strict Health and Safety procedures to minimise the risk of transferring or contracting COVID-19. This includes keeping students in ‘bubbles’, 1-2 metres apart at all times and maintaining an adult to child ratio of 1:10. Please note: as we have several teachers who are unable to work onsite under Alert Level 3, due to increased risk to themselves or their bubbles, staff onsite may not always be from the teaching team.
In our next newsletter we hope to be sharing information about how we intend to work towards all students returning to school. This will include tips for parents, so that together, we can focus on the wellbeing of every student during this next stage of change to their routines. We fully appreciate that different children may have different levels of anxiety and we will be sharing what we will be doing in classrooms to manage this. If you would like to offer any ideas/thoughts on this, please email these to me for consideration.
We are also very aware that there may be some of our families whose personal circumstances might now be different from a month ago. We will be looking at ways that our community can offer support to those who need a hand.
In the meantime, continue with the great learning at home and whether it be online or offline – keep it FUN! Remember, your child’s class teacher is available via email and I am also available for a chat. If you have a spare moment in all of this, think about what a school community celebration might look like when we all get back onsite – we SO deserve it!!