It’s difficult to imagine what a school day will look like under Covid-19. Victoria Girls’ High School kindly shared their re-opening plan and protocols. This is an edited version.
New term dates, curricula cut
Holidays have been significantly shortened and Grade 8 to 11 curricula have been slightly cut to be able to fit in with the revised time available.
Screening, access control, masks
- All staff and learners will be screened on entry to the campus. Initially they will only be using a single entrance for all learners, possibly changing this when numbers at school start to increase.
- No person will be allowed to enter the school grounds without a mask and if they have symptoms or a high temperature they won’t be allowed onto campus (learners’ parents will be phoned to collect them) and will be referred to the Health Department for testing.
- Visitors (including parents) will need to make an appointment to come on to campus. Arrangements have been made for applications for 2021 to be processed safely.
- Face masks must be worn at all times.
Matric learners may attend school in full school uniform, full sports uniform or civvies for the first few weeks, after which a decision will be made about other grades. Clean, comfortable and warm clothing is what matters, says the school.
Streaming, alternating days
The school timetable will continue as per normal with two streams for each grade alternating on-site teaching days. This means every learner may only come to school on alternate days (i.e. Green stream comes to school on Day 1, 3, 5, etc. and the Blue stream on Day 2, 4, 6, etc. – with streams changing after every cycle). Remote teaching will continue as well in order to accommodate families affected by COVID-19, sick learners or boarders unable to return.
Grades will be assigned a specific corridor and ablution facilities to limit contact between grades. In addition, movement will be limited to teachers changing classes and senior grades moving between their four classes per lesson.
Learners will be required to disinfect regularly. Desks will be disinfected after each lesson if learners move and classes will be cleaned daily. Because there will be no co-curriculars, school will end at either 1pm or 1.45pm which will provide time for cleaners to clean classrooms. No bags will be allowed to be brought into classrooms (only books).
No tuckshop, socials
There will be no Tuckshop at school. In addition, all events are (e.g. camps, dances, tours, competitions, etc.) are cancelled until further notice.
Counselling and support
The school’s psychologist will be available to support learners.
Children kept home
No parent is being forced to send their child to school. Teachers will continue with a remote teaching option to enable learners to work from home.
What does a day look like?
When staff and learners arrive
- Staff can access the school to park with gate a chip only. They must properly secure their facemask before exiting their vehicle.
- Move to front of school for screening before admittance to the buildings.
- All day scholars must be dropped off at the front entrance and will queue at 1.5m intervals along the pavement.
- All learners must have their face masks secured before exiting their transport vehicle or be wearing their mask while walking to school.
- At the front gate, each learner and staff member will be screened.
- Screening will involve temperature reading, recording and hand-sanitising.
- Only once screened will any staff or learner be allowed entrance to the buildings.
- Boarders will be screened at their hostel as they exit, en-route to the teaching buildings.
- If a learner has a raised temperature they will be sent to the boardroom, where they must wait to be collected by parents.
- If a staff member has a raised temperature, they will be sent home.
- Policy will be followed regarding contacting the Dept of Health.
After daily screening at entrance
- Staff and learners move to their first teaching venue – there will be no class teacher’s time.
- Social distancing means one learner per desk, no sharing any items.
- Staff and learners must dress warmly: no heaters will be used in any classrooms because temperature changes increase mucus production and can enhance viral transmission.
- Windows (at least two) must be open, at all time, during the school day.
- All school bags to remain in corridors – any valuables e.g. money and devices must be taken into the classroom.
- Each learner’s hands to be sprayed with sanitiser as they enter the classroom
- Just before the lesson ends, desks must be wiped down and door handles sanitised.
- Learners will move outdoors and may sit on the fields, on the pavilion and under the arches. The small and large quads are for staff use at this time.
- Social distancing must take place.
- No sharing of water-bottles/lunch boxes.
End of the school day
- Final lesson of each day – desks and door handles to be sanitised, class to be swept, classroom bins emptied into corridor bins and windows closed.
- All staff and learners to go home immediately after lessons have ended.
- No co-curriculars means no one remains on campus after teaching lessons.
- Learners will exit through the front school gate (Beaufort Street) and maintain social distances until they have been collected.
- Boarders will return to hostel.
LO Gym and Computer Literacy Lessons
- As social distancing cannot happen in the changing rooms, there will not be Gym lessons.
- The computer labs are staff work zones and so there will not be Computer Literacy lessons.
Assembly and WEP
- No assemblies
Office Area and Admin Area
- Visitors to the school by appointment only.
- Requests to the Admin staff must be emailed.
- No congregating of learners or staff at the reception area.