Communication : COVID-19 & Senior School Closing 18 March 2020

Posted: January 21, 2020

Dear Parents,

You will all be aware that, since our letter to you a week ago, much has changed with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yesterday there was a national call for social distancing in order to curb the spread of the virus.  We are dealing with a virus that spreads very rapidly between people who are asymptomatic.

It is critically important that we all play our part, as responsible citizens, in stopping the virus from overwhelming our health care system.

On behalf of the board and executive committee, this letter serves to inform you of the measures we will be putting in place in order to safeguard, to the best of our ability, the well-being of the Roedean community.

The aim of these measures is to contain the spread of the virus.

Since cases in South Africa, at this stage, are limited to those who have travelled, we are currently facing moderate risk; teaching and learning at the school will continue as normal.

Pupils and all members of staff must, at all times, observe the following rules of hygiene, which have been communicated to them:

  • Regular washing of hands with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds;
  • Use of  an  alcohol-based  hand  sanitizer,  especially  just  before  eating.    Hand sanitizer is available in all cloakrooms, in the dining rooms and at the tuckshop. Use of hand sanitizers will be mandatory prior to serving food. Hand sanitizers for each classroom are currently on order;
  • Social distancing is essential; shaking of hands and hugging must be avoided;
  • Coughing or sneezing must be into the crook of the elbows or onto a tissue which must then be discarded immediately; and
  • One needs to avoid touching one’s face, especially eyes, nose and mouth.

If your daughter is unwell, please do not send her to school; it is important for us all to avoid compromising our immune systems. If she starts to show symptoms of illness while at school, we will isolate her and will request you to fetch her immediately.

It is critical for all parents who have recently travelled to affected areas (including, but not limited to, China, Macau, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, Italy,  Malaysia, Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia, Singapore, France, UK and the US) to notify the school, via e-mail, and to quarantine themselves and their children for a minimum of 14 days after their return.

We ask that anyone who has been in contact, directly or indirectly, with anyone who is currently infected with or is awaiting results from being tested for the virus, to please follow the same rules and remain in quarantine for at least 14 days after the contact; please notify the school immediately, via e-mail.

Girls who are in quarantine will be able to continue with much of their work on-line and can keep in contact with their teachers via e-mail.

All visitors to the school will be asked to disclose their travel history over the previous 2 weeks and, if they have travelled outside the country, they will be asked to leave the property and return once their quarantine period has elapsed.

If anyone in your family is severely immuno-compromised, please keep your daughter at home in order to avoid infections within your family.

Internal events which involve mostly the Roedean community will continue until further notice. However, non-essential events which involve people outside our community will be cancelled. These include:

  • SAORA Foundation Day celebrations;
  • The Autumn Sport Festival; and
  • The Family Fun Day (the plan is to postpone this to Term 3).

The Choir will not participate in the St David’s Choir Festival on Monday, 16 March.

The situation is being monitored on a daily basis. We are in consultation with experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), and we will update the community on a regular basis with actions we will be taking to minimize risks.  Although containment is our aim, we cannot rule out the possibility of closing the school, should the situation require this.

Should you require further information, please refer to the NICD website (www.nicd.ac.za) or contact, 0800 029 999, the clinician hotline which has been set up to answer questions from the public.

Senior School Closing

In line with the announcement by President Ramaphosa this evening, Roedean School (SA) will be closed effective Wednesday 18 March, until further notice.  We will keep you updated about the date of re-opening.

The academic staff has, for the past week or more, been working on developing on-line material for your daughters, in anticipation of a possible closure of the school.  While this announcement has come unexpectedly early, your daughters will be able to do a great deal of work, using our on-line platforms, from tomorrow onwards.  We urge you to encourage your daughters to apply strong self-discipline and to continue working on all their subjects as they would have done, had the school been open; following their normal timetable is undoubtedly the easiest way to do this.  Pupils must check their e-mails for instructions from teachers and must feel free to e-mail their teachers anytime between 08:00 and 15:00 each day for further assistance.  It will be business as usual for the staff who will be working remotely.

As time progresses, we look forward to being able to present more on-line learning material and, as the staff become more expert at using new platforms, material should become more varied and exciting.

Girls should ensure, when they leave school on Tuesday, that they have collected all necessary books and other items from their lockers so that their academic progress is not hindered.

Families who do not have wifi at home should contact Mrs Galanakis on lgalanakis@roedeanschool.co.za or Mrs Rogers on Frogers@roedeanschool.co.za to discuss options.

No sporting events will take place while the school is closed.

We apologise for the inconvenience the closure of the school may cause but assure you that we will do our best to ensure continued learning despite the closure of the school.  This decision is certainly in the best interests of the health of our nation and we are, therefore, fully in support of it.

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SA's Pioneers of Cognitive Education

Since 2009, Thinking Skill have been an integral part of the curriculum, preparing pupils for the challenges of higher education and life itself. We strive to prepare our girls to lead ‘life of significance’ in a world of exponential change. Roedean is the only school in SA to be accredited as a Thinking School from Grades 0-12.