Virtual Assembly Monday 29 June
Focus: Covid-19 & Social Awareness
Good morning gentlemen
VIDEO DELME LINSCOTT
We open this assembly with a dedication and message from Rev Delme LInscott (OC1900) through these difficult times
Mbatha will now do the School Prayer
COVID -19 UPDATE
I want to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on College as it has now become very real for all of us. If you at any time thought that this pandemic is not real we have been woken up with a stark reality as we currently have two members of our community who have tested positive viz a teacher and a 5th Form boarder.
I know that Mr Swart posted an excellent video on Friday with an update, but I now wish to add to that and trust that you will give you undivided attention so that there is NO confusion whatsoever going forward.
If you are still confused or uncertain please speak to your mentor, housemaster or Messrs Swart, Kyle, Talke or myself.
As a result of the two positive cases and the boys who were considered to be in close contact , as a precautionary measure they have been removed from the system, placed in isolation and tested .
So far two of the boys have tested negative and we await the results of the rest of the boys and another staff member.
On Friday morning, we were visited on site by our Circuit Manager from the DOE, a representative from the Department of Health and an Environmental Officer from Umsunduzi Municipality. At this meeting the following findings were concluded:
- Decontamination will continue as usual as prescribed in the regulations;
- Learners and educator identified will remain in isolation pending the outcome of their results;
- School is to continue as normal as all isolation and decontamination protocols are adhered to.
We were also informed at this meeting as to what the amended standard operating procedures [SOP] are with regards to what constitutes a direct contact [primary contact] with a person who has tested positive.
This SOP will determine the level of risk of each situation as to who is required to self- isolate and to go for further testing.
They also commended the school on the excellent procedures , protocols and facilities that we have put in place. Messrs, Swart, Kyle , Hackland, Talke and Sister Townsend are thanked sincerely
Chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19, and Internationally recognised epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim had the following to say recently:
[ June 9 ENCA]
“Overall, there is no good reason why children should not be going back to school if we can put in place the protocols for social distancing and hand sanitising. I think if we can do that, there should be little reason why these schools are not relatively safe. Having said that we must expect that they may be small outbreaks in school.
For as long as we do not have immunity and we do not have a vaccine, we are going to have to live with this virus. This virus is going to pose a threat continually, well into next year. So we have to find a way in which we can continue our normal lives. We cannot simply go and lock ourselves away for that period, we have to go back to school, we have to go back to work and what we have to do is do that following the rules.”
Therefore the following is of critical importance for you to note going forward:
Any person without a mask who has been within 1m distance of an infected person for a period of up to 15 minutes and longer would potentially be a high risk candidate for infection.
A person who spent a lesser period of time ie less than 15 minutes , would be a low risk candidate for infection.
If masks are being worn as prescribed and you are maintaining the 1.5m social distancing requirements, you would be very unlikely to be a candidate of being a direct [primary] contact for infection but a secondary contact with no further action required.
Therefore it is absolutely essential that the requirements are adhered to 100% and that you also ensure that you wash your hands with soap and water and hand sanitiser . If all of these are applied religiously it is highly unlikely that you could be a possible candidate.
MUSIC ITEM K. Ramharak will now play ‘Progression 1 by Manfred Schmidt on the piano
Thank you very much Ramharak
The other íssue that I need to bring to your attention is that of the BLM movement which is a major cause of concern across the world and in SA at the moment .
College has not been unaffected by this and OCs and a handful of boys have raised one or two issues that require attention.
As a result of that a number of meetings have been held with senior leaders in the school with staff over the past three weeks as well as communication with OCs and a three hour zoom meeting last Thursday afternoon which was very positive.
At the request of the prefects , the RCL also met last week on Thursday but was sadly very poorly attended.
The following quote by author Maya Angelou resonates at this time
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said ; people forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.
As you may or may not be aware after a serious incident in 2017, College released a Statement of Intent and embarked on a social awareness pathway which included intensive workshops for staff , surveys for the whole College community and the establishment of the Social Awareness Forum as well as the Social Awareness Council.
Furthermore, the Anti-discriminatory Policy was introduced formally to you during last weeks mentor period and our College Credo will be introduced in the next week or two.
Both of these actions would have been released earlier in the year but due to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown this has not been possible.
All these documents and policies will be made available on our College website and you having been given a hard copy of the ADP. A simplified one pager will be provided later this week.
The ADP was drafted by a representative and diverse panel of stakeholders from Maritzburg College.
The process began with learner engagement, surveys, focus groups, interviews and a series of workshops facilitated by Shikaya which eventually culminated into the essence of this policy.
The key purpose of the ADP is to ensure that every member of our school community feels that this school is a safe space for him/her and that he/she feels accepted as a valued member of the College family.
Our “College Culture” supports the dignified and fair treatment of everyone within the school community irrespective of race, gender, sex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, or on any other arbitrary ground.
The ADP solidifies this stance in its fundamental respect for the human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms of all as entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
Any occurrence of Unfair Discrimination will therefore be dealt with and has no place in this school where our aim is to create a safe and enabling environment for all our boys, staff and visitors.
This policy therefore explicitly identifies acts of discrimination based on the grounds of race, religion or cultural association; gender and disability.
Further, it outlines the process to report such incidents to ensure the overall well-being and safety of all concerned. By being explicit, we aim to not only expose those who go against the culture of our school but also to support those who for no reasonable reason are made to feel humiliated.
Therefore following on from this, during the course of this week and beyond, the Prefects will be holding an assembly with each form on Wednesday and the full RCL [of form 4-6] will meet on Wednesday afternoon. It is crucial that every boy has the right to air his views and opinions but that the rights of others are to be respected at all times. Furthermore, the mentor period going forward must be treated a s safe space for boys to further engage and ultimately listen and hear. Over the coming weeks as a result of feedback from your seniors attention will be focussed on providing you with information on various races and cultures .
Our plea to you is PLEASE DO NOT REMAIN SILENT .
CERTIFICATES OF RECOGNITION
KZN Finalists in the SA Sage Teen Entrepreneur Competition
Two of our College boys, Chase Whiting (5th form) and Richard Duckham (4th form), have been chosen as one of three businesses to represent KwaZulu-Natal in the finals of SA SAGE 2020 Teen Entrepreneur Competition. We wish them every success and thank Mr Themebela for his support of the boys.
Congratulations to Graydon Emberton who’s essay submitted for the Lockdown under Learning national competition was selected as one of the Top 10, and was read by an illustrious panel of judges including Prof Jansen and Thuli Madonsela. Well done, Grayden!
I wish you all a very good week
Keep safe and healthy
Pro Aris et Focis