From the Head Master’s Desk : 1 May 2020
We have been in Lockdown for a month now and there is not one member of the DHS community that has not been affected by this, in one form or another. Be it from emotional stresses of being in isolation (cabin fever), financial concerns or the anxious uncertainty fed by a continuous barrage of opinions on social and mainstream media. It is easy to give an opinion without the burden of accountability.
Prevalent in discussions is the re-opening of schools. There have been a number of ‘Drafts’ that have been shared by social media as to how and when schools will re-open. If nothing else, it has heightened the uncertainty. What we can, however, glean from it is that there will be a staggered return to school, with the Matrics being the first group to return, and this is due to take place on 1 June.
I ask parents to start preparing your sons to face a different ‘normal’ when they return. This will entail, wearing cloth face masks at all times, no physical contact with others, continuous washing of hands and maintaining social distancing as best as possible. Together with their school books, boys will be expected to bring their own personal sanitizer, washable cloth face mask and home prepared lunches. All boys and visitors will be subjected to a temperature reading at the main gate as well as having their hands sanitized. Wearing of face masks, on entry, will be compulsory and greetings will only be done verbally. We will sanitize the classrooms and offices as best as possible.
I do believe that the lost teaching time will be made up before year end. By end of May we will have lost approximately 35 school days. The rumoured proposal is to shorten July and September holidays and end the year later in December. Together with scrapping of the June exams, this will more than make up for any lost time. We have already been informed that the syllabus for Grade 8 to 11 will be adjusted accordingly. Couple this, with the quality and experience of our staff and you can rest assured that your sons will be fine.
All that is required from their side is the right attitude and a good work ethic. At this time, I would also like to thank the academic staff who have made the effort to provide work and online lessons to your sons. We recently loaded the Lockdown Online Lessons’ timetable, together with the codes and passwords for Zoom and Google Classroom that our staff were utilizing, onto the D6. I appreciate that sometimes it has been information overload in terms of the content that we are providing but maybe it gives you a sense of the amount of work that is done in the physical classroom environment. Technology and online platforms support and enhance teaching but do not replace the teacher.
I know that the issue of fee payment is an emotive one at this juncture. I urge any parent who is experiencing difficulties regarding the payment of school fees as a result of the Lockdown to contact Mrs Dicks on: Denise.Dicks@durbanhighschool.co.za so that a payment plan can be made. While there will be some savings at school from the Lockdown, this will be offset by the additional costs relating to Covid-19 such as safety equipment, sanitizers and dispensers, digital thermometers and other unforeseen aspects. We will cancel events for 2020, where possible, that will be an extra financial burden to parents such as Leadership Courses, Tours, Matric Dance, etc. These events also go against the social distancing expectations that are set out.
I thank parents who continue to pay their fees. I also thank those who supported the initiative to supply data to the boys who cannot afford it; the response has been overwhelming.
To all in the DHS family, I thank you for your continued support and efforts. We are a resilient community and we shall get through this with fortitude.
A D Pinheiro