Re: COVID-19 Communication following our President’s address (15 March 2020)

Dear Parents

On Sunday the 15th of March 2020, our President addressed the nation with far-reaching directives and measures that are hoped to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. This letter will address only those directives that will directly impact our schools.

Closure of Schools

In terms of the National Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, the President has the power to declare all schools closed, this includes independent schools. As such, Tuesday the 17th of March 2020 will be our last contact school day until further notice. This means that all school activities are suspended, including but not limited to camps, tours, non-essential meetings, sports and cultural events, aftercare, PTF functions, parents’ evenings, music lessons and all extra cost activities, clubs and events. New dates for all postponed events will be communicated in due course.

Schools were due to close on the 9th of April 2020 for school holidays. The effect of an immediate closure means a loss of 17 contact academic days. These missed days, along with any days that may be missed due to a possible extended closure, will need to (at least in part) be worked back into the balance of the 2020 academic calendar. The ISASA, 3-Term school calendar committee will be meeting to discuss the most effective, coordinated way to address this in order to prevent a plethora of different term dates. We will communicate our plan to parents once it has been developed.

It is the intention of the school to continue with the delivery of our curriculum using any and all means at our disposal. The approach will vary from phase to phase but we will rely heavily on electronic methodologies in order to continue to teach our pupils. So far as possible, pupils from Grade 2 to Grade 12 will be sent their work via their school google account and we will move our teaching to the Google Classroom platform. Should you require assistance with access to this, please would you contact your child’s class teacher (for children at the Prep school) or your child’s grade tutor (for college pupils).

Teachers of pupils in the Pre-prep and pupils in Grade 1 will manage workflow to children via electronic means as well as activity packs. The first of these packs, covering work from Wednesday 18 March 2020 to Friday 20 March 2020 will be available on Tuesday 17 March from 14:00. Parents who have kept their children at home this week may collect these packs on Tuesday afternoon from the school reception desk. From there on, work packs will be available for the following week on Fridays, from 14:00. Printed copies of these activity packs can be collected from the school reception between 14:00 and 16:00 on Fridays, by prior arrangement.

Please note that our staff will still be required to attend work on our campuses, as long as it is safe and practical to do so, during this school closure. This is in order for them to continue to provide workflow to our pupils. As such, all staff will be available to you should you need to call or email them during normal school hours.

Most of our academic staff members are qualified and trained to teach using traditional, personal contact, teaching and learning methodologies. I appeal to parents to give our teachers the space they require to transition effectively to a method of teaching with which they may not be completely comfortable.

The NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) advises the following with regards to COVID-19:

  1. It is probable that most of the population will contract COVID-19.
  2. With the possible exception of some of the elderly and those suffering from the illnesses mentioned in the many available articles, most of us will experience the symptoms of the common cold and, in some cases, more severe influenza.
  3. The efforts of the state are aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
  4. Current observations suggest that those who have contracted the virus are less likely to be infectious unless they are symptomatic, i.e. coughing, fever, sore throat.

While our schools manage the safety of our pupils and put measures in place to mitigate against the spread of the virus, we are also managing a huge amount of fear and panic which all of our
stakeholders are feeling. The most important thing we can do right now is:

  • to practise good hygiene,
  • to track the pandemic through credible news outlets or official sites (WHO, NICD etc.), and,
  • to behave responsibly and promote the same responsible behaviour with your children. If you are concerned that you have been exposed to the virus, self-isolate and contact the COVID-19 hotline on 0800 029 999.

We commit, through this entire process, to remaining open and transparent with all of our stakeholders, pupils, parents and staff alike. We will not withhold any information and will
communicate with you as and when needed. Information coming directly from the schools, through official channels, should be deemed to be the only credible information about our schools. We are aware of rumours of cases of COVID-19 within our Group, but, to the best of our knowledge, we have had no confirmed, direct cases at any of our schools.

Kind regards

Kyalami Schools (NPC) Executive Committee:
Mrs Danielle Meikle
Mrs Noële Hillen
Mr David Hala
Mr Mark Naidoo
Mr Gary Botha

The Kyalami Schools (NPC) Board of Directors