A Letter From The Headmaster

We have now completed a month of on-site schooling for our Grade 7 and 12 classes, and we are so grateful to have negotiated this time successfully and safely.
It has not been easy for our learners and staff, and, no doubt, for our parents.
The new normal for our school is foreign and uncomfortable, but the protocols that we have in place have kept us all safe and it is our strict adherence to these safety protocols, i.e. the regular sanitising of hands and the school building, the wearing of masks and face shields and social distancing, that has enabled us all to be safe.
Please note that, following a statement issued by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, on Thursday evening, 2 July, the immediate phasing in schedule for grades has been changed, with only our Grade 6 and 11 classes to resume schooling on Monday, 6 July.
It is expected that the Grade 10s will be phased in during the month of July. We hope to have more clarity in this regard soon.
We trust that those returning to school on Monday have worked hard while at home during their lockdown period and that they will quickly adjust to the systems at school upon their arrival.
Please be assured that anyone who enters the school campus is thoroughly screened before admission. No unauthorised person is permitted to enter the campus, for any reason. All learners have their temperatures taken three times per day, and anyone who shows signs of illness is encouraged to stay at home.
We have been inundated with appeals from parents, sports coaches etc to open our campus and sporting facilities for public use. Unfortunately, departmental safety regulations prohibit us from permitting this until further notice.
Grade 6 and 11 learners should take note of the following:
1. Learners who are exhibiting any symptoms of the Coronavirus (cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath) should be kept at home.
2. Learners who have chronic illnesses must inform the school and special arrangements will be made.
3. Learners will be expected to pay special attention to personal hygiene – washing of hands, sanitizing, social distancing, wearing of masks (compulsory at all times), except when eating or drinking.
4. All learners are expected to have their own sanitizing spray or disposable anti-bacterial wipes each day. Learners must arrive at school with their own face mask and/or face shield.
5. Learners will initially wear civvies to school each day – clothing must be washed daily. The Clothing Shop will not be open for hand-to-hand purchases, but will take online orders at clothing@unionschools.co.za and parcels of orders will be delivered to your homes. Payment must be made in advance and proof of payment should be emailed to Mrs Clegg.
6. It is envisaged that from 3 August, we will allow learners to wear school uniform on Monday and Friday, school tracksuits on Wednesday and civvies on Tuesday and Thursday. This will allow parents an opportunity to ensure that all learners wear clean clothing each day.
6. Warm clothing should be worn, as it is the winter season and all windows will be open in all venues for ventilation purposes.
7. Learners will be permitted to carry their mobile devices at school so that parents are able to communicate effectively with their children. Strict control will be enforced and no devices may be visible or in use during teaching time.
The following protocols will be observed at school:
1. A Covid-19 Management Committee has been established and will ensure your children’s safety at all times.
2. School hours will run from 08.00 – 14.00, and afternoon catch-up sessions will take place to assist learners who have a backlog.
3. No assemblies or large gatherings will be held.
4. No extra-mural activities may occur.
5. The school building is thoroughly cleaned daily to prepare for the following day.
6. Every classroom is equipped with hand sanitizers. Educators will ensure that learners’ hands are sanitized before entering and leaving the classroom.
7. As far as possible, learners will remain in one venue and one desk for the entire day, except for specialist subjects, such as CAT and when combination classes must be taught. Intensive sanitising of desks by staff is needed once a day. This will also minimise the movement of learners around the school.
8. At breaktimes at different times, staff on duty will monitor social distancing. No hugging/shaking hands/elbow bumps etc.
9. All educators will continue their online/distance learning. All educators will still be available for questions for the distance learning classes.
10. The tuckshop will not be open for business. Learners are to bring sufficient food and liquid refreshments each day.
11. The bathrooms are thoroughly sanitized daily, and throughout the day.
12. We have organised additional PPE for learners and signs regarding safety issues.
13. We have drafted a Procedure Policy should a learner or staff member have a high temperature or becomes ill during the course of the day. We have allocated an “isolation room” for this purpose.
Arrangements for 6 July 2020:
1. All learners are to make use of the pedestrian gate (Bruce Maree Gate) in Caledon Street. Learners will be screened by staff upon arrival.
2. Latecomers will not be tolerated as temperatures need to be taken daily before entering school.
3. No parent, guardian or visitor may enter the school premises at any time. All communication with the school should be telephonic (049 891 0262) or via email (secretary@unionschools.co.za).
4. Learners need to leave school and be fetched immediately upon school closing.
5. The school grounds will be securely locked at the end of each school day to ensure the safety of those who reside in our boarding houses. Day scholars may not return to school in the afternoon to make use of recreational facilities.
Yours faithfully,
Mr W.E. Pringle