Following the announcement by the MEC of Basic Education, schools will resume for Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners from 1 June 2020. The other grades will return through a phased approach.
As a school, we have been working hard behind the scenes these past couple of weeks in preparation to ensure that the safety of our staff and boys is paramount. We are more than ready, I believe, to successfully resume teaching on 1 June, while still staying safe. Our social media communication shows some of the measures we have put in place to maintain top class safety and occupational practices at DHS.
I know that in these extremely uncertain times some boys and parents will be anxious about the resumption of school. I believe that the correct relationship between parents, the boys and School will overcome this anxiety. As parents, you need to emphasise to your sons that they need to display strong self-discipline as well as a strong work ethic when they come to school. Respecting all the relevant protocols, as well as fellow learners, will go a long way to overcoming any issues.
I would like to bring the following points to your attention:
- Deputy Head Master at DHS, Mr Simanga Ngcongo, is our Responsibility Manager relating to protocols and all other aspects with respect to COVID-19. Please direct queries or concerns to Mr Ngcongo via e-mail: Simanga.Ngcongo@durbanhighschool.co.za.
- Mr Bryan Adam, the School Counsellor, is available to both the boys, as well as parents, in assisting with any emotional or psychological anxieties or other concerns you may have.
- No parents or members of the public will be permitted to enter the premises without prior appointments. Appointments will only be made on an urgent basis and will be conducted in an allocated office in the reception area.
- There will only be one entrance and exit to the premises for everyone and that will be through the Main Gate in St Thomas Road. Screening and sanitisation is compulsory at the gate, and includes hand sanitiser and temperature control, as well as a sanitising walk-through booth/tunnel. In addition, no individual will be allowed entry without wearing a face mask. Visitors and service providers will need to fill in an information sheet before entering the premises.
- Lessons will start at 07h40 and the last lesson of the day will end at 15h30. This arrangement will run until further notice. School will, however, end at 14h00 on a Friday. There will be no extracurricular programme until permission is granted by the Government.
- Boys will be informed of all expected protocols while at school and will be strictly dealt with if they do not comply. As always, we expect the highest levels of gentlemanly conduct.
- Boys will wear their full uniform and, as hygiene is of utmost importance, we expect our boys to be clean shaven and neat in appearance. Now is the time to maintain standards.
- Boys are expected to bring their own face mask (preferably plain dark blue), as well as a personal sanitiser in their bags. The school will provide sanitisers in every classroom, as well as outside the ablutions. Classrooms will be cleaned daily by an accredited cleaning and sanitising company (DBU), who will adhere to all approved cleaning practices in this time.
- We will relay further protocols relevant to the boys once they report to school.
- Please know that we have taken all reasonable precautions to keep our boys and staff safe and healthy. No amount of online teaching will ever make up for the classroom experience and we encourage our parents to send their sons to school. However, we ask that should your son display any related COVID-19 symptoms that you have him medically cleared before he comes back to school.
I need to thank various role players at this time. To the parents for your continued emotional and financial support. To the Governing Body for their support and drive in ensuring that we more than fulfil the basic requirements of health and safety. To the DHS Foundation for their support in these difficult times. Last, but not least, to all our staff who have ensured that while this was a National Lockdown, School continued to be part of your lives.
I must admit that I have missed the interaction with your sons and the staff. We only tend to appreciate things when we can’t take them for granted. I look forward to seeing the boys.
Stay healthy, stay safe and let Durban High School continue to lead by example and be at the forefront in setting the best safety standards for the DHS team.
A D PINHEIRO