Message from the office
What a roller coaster ride 2020 has turned out to be. I am at the point when I feel like shouting to the conductor to stop the ride as I’m ready to climb off but there appears to be no conductor and no off switch!
So here we go changing our plans once again. Before I write about what we will be doing I wish to express my views on the closing of schools. These views are purely mine and not necessarily the opinion of everyone or any other entity of VP. I know that there has been much criticism of this call and this seems to come from people who have no connection to schools or what is really happening on a daily basis.
I have always said that we are extremely fortunate to have a safe place to report to, we have running water and ablutions and we have enough staff to clean round the clock. We are certainly more fortunate than many. But we are not immune to the fears that we are experiencing and we sense these fears in each other, our parents and even our pupils. We have already had staff that have had to quarantine or isolate. One of my biggest fears is that we would find ourselves short-staffed if we were open when the infection rate peaked.
The enormous responsibility that lies on our shoulders to keep your girls and each other safe takes an emotional toll on everyone. It’s one thing when parents are not happy because they didn’t like the way we coached the netball or hockey team, but it is a whole other ball game to make decisions during these times which can turn out to be detrimental to our girls and staff. I do believe that the decision to close schools now is in the best interest of all our VP families especially considering the strain that Settler’s Hospital and every medical facility in the Eastern Cape is under.
I do not think it is about the ‘laziness’ of teachers, or not wanting to take responsibility, it is about saving the lives of our children and also those adults who work in our schools. The consequences of being infected can be costly. I have said before that we will do everything in our power to keep our school a safe and happy place but for now I believe the best place for your girls is in the safety of their homes with their families until this peak of the pandemic subsides and I pray God’s hand over all of you during this time.
Our doors will close for two weeks from 27 July to 9 August 2020. (Hostel parents can collect their daughters from 13h00 today until 17h00 on Sunday). Our Grade 7s have been working hard and deserve this time to rest. We request that all other girls use these two weeks to catch up with the work that they may have received and on any outstanding work. They should also read as much as they can. The Grade 7 hostel girls will return to hostel on Monday the 10th August (from 14:00) and the rest of the Grade 7 girls will return to school on Tuesday, 11 August and will follow the times that we are currently using.
On Friday, 14 August the
• Pre-primary and Foundation Phase will have a Work Pick-Up at Huntley Street from 12:00-13:30.
• Grade 4 and 5s will have a pick up point for work at 12:00-13:30 also at Huntley Street
• Grade 6s will be handing out work in Beaufort Street between 11:00 and 12:00
A new educational children’s book series by the South African illustrator and cartoonist Nathi Ngubane has been published online for free. The series documents the adventures of Duma, his sister Zinhle and their friends during the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa to give children an insight into how to stay safe while navigating this topsy-turvy world. https://sacoronavirus.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DumaSays.pdf
As the Minister has not yet indicated how she proposes we phase in the rest of the grades again, we may have to change this but we are ready for all hostel girls to return on the 23 August and on the 24th we will welcome back all our Green Group girls from Grade 00 – 6. Please keep watching the news closely for any notification of this but bear in mind that like last time the provincial return of grades may also be different to that which is stipulated in the National Gazette and we will certainly notify you as soon as we have more clarity, or if for some reasons we are unable to receive all other grades on this date.
If anything has been predictable this year it is that everything may change, so if things change between now and then we will certainly keep you informed as often and as timely as possible.
On a positive note I thought I’d add an encouraging message on facing the COVID pandemic. The full article can be found on the following link:
Clean Up Your Attitude
The power of a positive attitude is immeasurable. Here are some ways to get started.
Practice gratitude. This can be done in a variety of ways—from solo practices (e.g., keeping a gratitude journal) to group activities (e.g., sharing “one thing we are grateful for today” at dinner).
Connect with positivity instead of fear. This might mean connecting with grounded (vs. anxious) people, talking about uplifting (vs. depressing) topics, reading or watching inspiring (vs. demoralizing) news or shows, engaging in supportive (vs. critical) self-talk, or doing something helpful (e.g., delivering groceries to an older neighbor, offering free online services, etc.).
Be compassionate. In times of stress, it’s not uncommon for tempers to run short and snappy reactions to become the default. So be intentional and deliberate in your practice of empathy, patience, and forgiveness for yourself and others.
Stay hopeful. This might be a tall order, but it’s also a game-changer. Take time to deeply and seriously consider the current crisis. Allow yourself a wider lens. Even wider. Think broadly about what is really important to you, what your values are, how you find meaning in life, and what you want to be your most important life lessons. When we are overwhelmed, our perspective can become myopic and our hope wavering. So, look far, search deep, and ground in the power of hope.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives and the world upside-down. When the crisis will end, and what it will leave behind, no one knows for sure. What we do know and what we can control is our ability to reign in our fear. In so doing, we will optimize our ability to tackle this crisis together with calm and clarity.
Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence
Congratulations to Sisonke Magopeni who was the very first recipient of our Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence. She was nominated as it was brought to the teachers attention that she exemplifies someone who stands up for what is right and who will support others when she sees that they aren’t being treated kindly or fairly. It takes a very strong character to do this especially when one is young and friends and popularity are important. She works hard and is a good ambassador for our school and she sets a wonderful example of being a courageous woman. Well done, Sisonke! Mr Webber presented her with her badge in class during our Zoom assembly on Monday.
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy birthday to the girls who celebrated this week! Liyabona Mbutye, Lisakhanya Batala, Aligugu Makeba, Elam Ntlokwana and Charlotte Welgemoed.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Face shields are available for purchase at the office. If you would like your daughter to buy one please send R25 in an envelope with her to her teacher who will then supply her with one.
BUCKET HAT WITH REMOVABLE FACE SHIELD
If you are interested in purchasing a bucket hat with a removable face shield for your daughter, please complete the order slip below and return by no later than Friday, 7 August 2020. The bucket hat will be navy blue in colour and made of a washable fabric. The face shield is made of a soft clear plastic and is attached to the hat by means of Velcro and can be easily removed for wiping and disinfecting. The edging on the face shield is also navy blue.
As the latest government regulation mandate the wearing of masks in all public places hats with shields such as these cannot replace a face mask, however they will provide extra protection and will be suitable for wearing in the classroom, while eating and when playing outside in the sun.
The hat is available in sizes Small (approximate age 2-3); Medium (approx. age 4-7) and Large (approx. age 8-12). Note the children in the photographs are in Grade R and are wearing size medium. Each hat inclusive of one removable face shield costs R120,00. Should you wish to place an order please fill in the form below. Completed order forms are to be returned to your daughter’s class teacher. Payment is to be made via Karri. Please no cash to be sent to school. Orders with payment can only be accepted until Friday, 7 August 2020.
Name of child ________________________________________________
Grade and class ____________________
Number of hats ordered ________________
Size: 2-3 (small) / 4-7 (medium) / 8-12 (large) (circle the appropriate size)