Mulbarton Remedial School Schooling in 2021 BUT it still won’t be school as we knew it… Working from home is not easy! Nor was having children learning at home instead of at school – but this is what LOCKDOWN meant for all the children of South Africa and around the world in 2020. As the country moves to more relaxed levels, we need to continue to maintain all the protocols put in place to avoid children or staff becoming infected with Covid-19. We also need to continue to monitor everyone’s health on a daily basis. Our top priority is the health and safety of the children and staff. This is for everyone’s protection as should a staff member or child test positive for Covid-19, the entire school may be put in lockdown again and whole classes quarantined. We have all our safety measures in place and the school will do everything in it’s power to maintain all precautions set out by the health and education authorities for as long as necessary. For this to work effectively, every parent will need to ensure that their child knows and understands the precautions we need to take while at school. This must be taught very clearly and thoroughly before you allow your child to leave the safety of your home: Strict and diligent personal hygiene – Clean clothes every day. To assist parents, the school uniform rules have been relaxed. Uniforms will be worn with guidelines concerning PT days and casual days. Fingernails to be kept short and be clean when arriving at school. Hands and face to be kept clean at all times. Hands to be washed regularly throughout the day. A clean tissue is to be used every time a child sneezes or blows their nose. Tissues to be put in a dustbin. Please practice this often at home. Immediately after blowing their nose or sneezing, hands must be sanitised or washed. Children must cough into their elbow to contain the spread of droplets and to avoid coughing directly at others. Face masks to be worn in public – These must be on when arriving at the school gate. If your child uses public transport to get to/from school, hands are to be sanitised before climbing in and again once they are out; mask to be worn entire time inside the vehicle. The onus is on parents to ensure that any public transport does not exceed the current maximum number of passengers and that their child is brought directly home once picked up at school, not driven around to many other schools the entire afternoon. Controlled access onto the school grounds – Line up 1m apart on the marked spots inside the school gate. The person dropping child off must wait until child has been screened. NO PERSON may enter the school’s premises without being screened. Hands are sprayed with sanitiser on entry. A hand-held no-contact thermometer is used to measure the child/staff member’s temperature. Should the alert sound, the child/staff member must wait in the designated place for 10 minutes and then be rechecked. If their temperature has not dropped, or they have other symptoms of illness, they are to be taken home again. Any child who is sick on arrival at school will be sent home immediately. If their temperature is normal, they walk through the disinfectant tray to disinfect their shoes. Bags are placed outside the classroom and children move to their designated area on the playground. Interactions with other children and staff – This is another huge change your child needs to understand and comply with at school! Please give your child a lot of love and attention at home, especially in the form of hugs and physical contact because unfortunately we will not be able to give the same kind of physical-emotional support as before. NO FORM of touching, hugging, holding, catching, etc. will be allowed while the pandemic is still in our country. Explain this very clearly and carefully to your child, especially if they need a lot of physical contact with others. The types of games they play have changed to new games that don’t result in physical contact and keep to the social distancing rules. Face shields may be worn in class and, if necessary for some children, on the playground too. The children will disinfect these at school at the end of the day and before putting them on again the next morning. Shields will remain in the classroom. Every child must have their own equipment – A list of used/broken/missing items will be sent home once a term for Gr. 2 – Gr. 7. Kindly ensure that your child has everything needed to continue with their schooling. Due to children touching their faces, chewing on pencils, etc. no child or staff member will be allowed to loan out or share any item of stationery. Should a child not have the necessary equipment at school, the work will be sent home for completion. Children attending Aftercare have to have a separate set of stationery for homework. Should a child not have the necessary equipment, this will be noted in the Homework Book and that work will need to be done at home. All school stationery is to be kept at school. The teachers will ensure that this is cleaned regularly. To avoid cross-contamination, nothing may go home again until the end of term. Should we be placed in lockdown again or your family has to go into isolation/quarantine, please have a full set of stationery at home. Books, teaching equipment and other learning materials will be sent home with / for your child. Resuming lockdown or quarantine – Should a child, class or the entire school have to resume lockdown conditions or be placed in quarantine for more than 3 days, the Learning at Home model will be restarted. Should this happen, support will be provided by the teacher/s in terms of printed work sent home and lessons to watch or listen to. Please understand that the school is not in control of any of these circumstances, but we need to do what works best for all of our learners. Home Learning models and Online Learning – Following many discussions with staff and looking at the challenges faced by many families, we decided that online schooling is not the best model for our school. There are many reasons for this decision, not the least that one fifth to a quarter of our children do not have access to unlimited data or a suitable device for online learning throughout the morning on school days. Online learning assumes that all children are able to log in to lessons at the same time and spend a few hours each day completing online activities or connecting with their teacher and classmates. The reality is that for many families, this is very prescriptive and leads to children refusing to do the work. There is also competition with siblings or parents for laptops/PCs/ tablets. Parents all have their own challenges and often have to work remotely at the same time, so are not available to assist their children at a set time. Unless parents have uncapped data, or the school is able to work online with a free data system, this becomes extremely costly. We have found that providing sets of work packs for children to complete at home, along with explanations, teacher recordings or videos to assist and, where appropriate, using internet resources that are readily available to extend and enrich learning worked best for the majority of our children. Many of these resources can be downloaded late at night when data is cheaper. All of these can be done at a time that suits the parents and child. When a child is finished for the day, they pack their work away and move on to persuing their own activities. They are not required to stay online for a prescribed period of time. Every child then can do the day’s work at their own pace and in any sequence. This model has been adapted and refined in 2020, so that our children are able to learn in an effective, child-friendly manner. Parent feedback, especially privately on WhatsApp, is always welcome. Children’s questions, concerns, etc. can also be posted on the WhatsApp group or privately. Tests and Assessments – These were all modified and adapted to fit the circumstances in 2020 without compromising the quality of education provided to our learners. As 2021 unfolds, decisions will be taken around the number, type and periods of assessmentsthat will be done. Parents will be notified of these each term. Sick children (and staff members!) must stay at home – All children or staff members who fall ill for any reason are to remain at home until they are well again. No child with a stomach-bug, cough, running nose, cold or flu may be sent to school. Children who fall ill during the school day will be sent home immediately. The school must be notified immediately if your child, or any person your child has been in recent contact with, is diagnosed with Covid-19. In all such cases your child is to remain at home and follow the Health Department’s regulations. Arrangements will then be made to send work home for your child to complete. Please note: These plans and guidelines are based on current information available as at 15 September 2020. Any or all of the above plans may change dramatically as the Covid-19 virus moves around South Africa. We are very concerned about our children’s mental health and resiliance during this time of crisis in our country. Please continue to talk with your children, hug them often and give them your time and attention. If you need any help or advice, contact me. Yours in education Pat van In