8 JANUARY 2021
I suggested in my first letter to you this year, that I would keep communicating with you about our return to school, and so this is a follow up to that. Unfortunately we are hampered by the prevalence of the virus and it necessitates that we are flexible in our planning as the situation unfolds. It is also awkward timing that President Ramaphosa announced that the adjusted regulations would stand until 15 January which is so close to the phased in return of our girls, as our Grade 12s are due back on the 16 January, followed by our Grade 8s on the 17 January, and then the remainder of the school. It stands that any further announcements by our President will impact on decisions we make going forward.
Last year, with the adherence to precautions, we were fortunate to be able to continue with our academic programme and our intention for this year, is that we are able to create an environment where our girls may thrive. This will require the support of all of us as the challenges appear greater this year with this ‘second wave’.
As mentioned previously, please will you assist with a positive start to the school year by ensuring that your family unit limits exposure to others? These days leading up to our re-opening are vital and our girls need to be responsible to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Once back at school, if your daughter shows COVID symptoms, or if she is exposed to a positive case, she will need to be isolated here at school and you will be asked to collect her. Please ensure that you have an exit plan if this were necessary. Please keep your daughter at home if she is unwell and take her for a Covid test if you are uncertain. Thank you.
It is with regret that we have decided to cancel the programme for the matrics on Saturday 16 January. It would have been wonderful to have hosted this occasion but we feel it is wise to call it off currently. We would prefer to include some of the planned sessions at another time and trust that you support our reasoning on this. Please will matric girls arrive on 16 January between 14.00-17.00? Parents may drop girls off at their Houses where there will be a health check before they may proceed to settle in. They will have a light supper in their Houses followed by a meeting with their Housemother and Intern.
Many Grade 8s and their parents have not had the usual introduction to St Anne’s due to Covid, so we would like to run a modified programme for the Sunday, 17 January, to mark this significant rite of passage. It is necessary for us to reduce the number of people in a venue, so please will the Grade 8 girls in Andrews, Frances Baines and Macrorie arrive at their Houses between 8.45-9.15 for a health check, and if those in Marianne Browne, Mollie Stone and Usherwood could arrive at their Houses between 9.45-10.15, for a health check too. A more detailed programme will follow next week.
Grades 9, 10 and 11
Please may boarders arrive on Tuesday 19 January between 14.00-18.00? Girls may be dropped off at their Houses and must have a health check in the reception area of their House before going to their rooms. Day boarders should arrive at the main school reception on Wednesday 20 January from 7.15 a.m. to give them adequate time to complete their health check and be seated in their classrooms by 7.50 in time for an 8.00 a.m. start.
We are a warm school, and our girls are usually very affectionate with one another, but it is necessary to declare our school a ‘handshake and hug-free zone’! On our return to school, everyone will need to adhere to:
- physical distancing of 1 ½ metres
- compulsory wearing of masks
- frequent hand washing & regular use of sanitizer
- minimal interaction with others over weekends
- consideration of others at all times to promote good health
These precautions are the most important in preventing the spread of the virus and if we can get these right, then we will go a long way to creating a safe and happy environment.
Our first weekend back is a closed weekend (23-24 January) and after that, I urge you to please minimise your daughters’ weekend activities as we need a considerate and caring attitude to safeguard the health of our community. Our day boarders are also urged to be mindful of the importance of trying to minimise contact outside of the family unit.
Please understand that there may well be further changes to our plans, and to our school programme, as we are uncertain what President Ramaphosa may announce at various intervals. These times require us all to be flexible so please bear with us. Please note that the Water polo pre-season training camp has been cancelled.
We will endeavour to take very good care of your daughters and to provide them with a fulfilling and rich programme despite the challenges we face.