Loreto COVID Reporting Number: 064 0565 568
15 January 2021:
As per the announcement today by the Department of Basic Education, the school cannot commence with contact teaching next week as was previously planned. We will however, be handing out textbooks (those purchased at school) to High School learners and doing Orientation and Information sessions with all of our learners in preparation for online learning to commence. Please see the below schedule (click on it to download) for days and times. An email with detailed information was sent to each parent today - please ensure that you are familiar with its contents. We would also like to urge parents who have not yet bought textbooks (those not purchased at school, as per the stationery lists below) to URGENTLY procure these, as learners will need them to commence online learning next week. Please also strictly adhere to these drop-off and collection times, as we cannot have learners loitering around the school unsupervised. If you have any questions, or perhaps you or your child is ill, or you are awaiting COVID results for anyone in your household, please contact the school URGENTLY on to inform the principal and make alternative arrangements.
Jan 2021: Parents, please fill in with your child and have them bring this form with on first day back at school!
Jan 2021: Parents, please fill in and sign these forms and send the forms with your child on first day back at school!
Learners Against GBV
Our High School learners took part in a stand against gender based violence last week.
We are so proud of our young ladies for making a positive stand against this horrendous problem that plagues South African society. Loreto says NO to gender based violence!
UPDATE: 02 JULY 2020 - LETTER EMAILED TO PARENTS
We would like to take this opportunity to explain our screening process and our protocols, so that parents understand exactly what occurs at school , as well as what is expected from our parents.
The Department of Education, in their SOP document, gives guidelines as to the process that must be followed. Firstly, relevant screening questions are asked, such as “Do you have a cough?”, ”Do you have a sore throat”, “Do you have difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)” and so forth. Parents will recognise these questions from the learner intake screening forms that your child completed on the first day of their return.
Following the screening questions, the learner’s temperature is taken and recorded by a member of the screening team for filing. Full records of the screening process are kept every day and for every station. If a learner’s temperature is above 37,5 that learner will be re-screened and a second reading taken. Often the heater in the car, or a beanie or very warm clothing, makes the reading higher. Every learner is given a chance to cool down a little and another reading is done.
Once the screening questions have been answered satisfactorily and the temperature has been confirmed (in other words, no fever present), the learner’s hands are sanitised and they move to the various venues where they wait for the school day to begin.
In terms of the various screening questions, the Department’s SOP then goes on to clearly state that if “…any one of the questions are answered “Yes”, the learner/employee will become a “person under investigation” (PUI) and must be isolated and referred for testing.” This means that any learner who informs screening staff that they have a cough, a sore throat, flu-like symptoms, body ache, shortness of breath, must be isolated and sent home so that parents can be afforded an opportunity to take the learner to a doctor, who will make a diagnosis and advise further. Any other illness, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, chicken pox, rashes, and other illnesses common amongst our learners on occasion, must also be attended to by a doctor, and thus these learners will also be sent home.
Again, the instructions from the Department of Education are as follows:
”Action to be taken when a child or learner appears ill or displays symptoms associated with COVID-19:
When a child/learner appears to be sick or displays symptoms of COVID-19, such as dry cough, high fever, respiratory distress or shortness of breath, or report a sore throat, the procedure below must be followed:
a) Isolate the learner and keep them separate from other learners and staff until they can be assessed by a health professional.
b) Provide the learner with a face mask if they don’t already have one on.
c) The parents or guardians of the child/learner must be informed immediately. “
Screeners are not medical professionals, and therefore cannot make any diagnosis or decision regarding illness or possible COVID-19 infection. This is why learners must be sent home with their parents to receive the required medical attention and have a diagnosis made.
Parents will note that the agreement signed and returned to school, also states clearly that parents agree that they will ensure that their children do not have any flu-like symptoms or fever before bringing them to school. This parental screening process avoids the inconvenience of having to come back to school to collect a learner who is complaining of any symptoms. It is very important that parents and learners communicate daily with each other about their health and any possible symptoms they may be experiencing before coming to school in the morning.
Another scenario for which the Department of Education has issued instruction, is where a learner may have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. This typically occurs where a member of a shared household has tested positive. All close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case are required to quarantine in their homes for 14 days while being monitored for symptoms. They may not attend school. Correct isolation of the person who has tested positive, as well as the precautions taken by the rest of the household are vital to prevent further members of the household from becoming ill. The Department of Health will guide this process and make the necessary recommendations.
Learners who are isolated, are done so in a very private manner, so as to avoid any embarrassment or distress. Our psychologist and social worker deal directly with every learner in isolation to prevent as much anxiety and distress as is possible and to reassure learners. All screening information is kept strictly confidential and files are kept under lock and key so that all privacy is maintained. The school is also very aware of possible stigmatisation and has a policy in place to assist and inform all staff and learners in this regard. Our social worker and psychologist are approachable by any learner to offer support, guidance and assist wherever possible. Learners are welcome at any time to make appointments to see them and this extends to any type of emotional support that learners may need at this time. We know that returning to school is stressful for some learners, and we are available daily to help wherever we can. Please encourage your children to make use of this facility if the need arises.
We certainly find ourselves in trying and difficult times, and the school is doing everything in its power to ensure that learners are kept safe at school. This extends to our greater school body. Any learner who is not well, although perhaps not with COVID-19, has a lowered immune system and may be more susceptible to becoming more sick, contracting COVID-19 or even infecting other learners and teachers with their illness. This puts a strain on the progression of teaching and learning, and therefore the school is being extremely cautious in their screening process. We ask that parents understand that as a school, we have to make very difficult decisions on a daily basis. We are learning as we go, and we ask for patience and understanding as well as support from our learners and parents. We would certainly rather err on the side of caution in order to keep our doors open and continue teaching whenever possible.
We are very encouraged by the number of positive calls and emails and support that we have received from parents, and we will continue to do our best to make this difficult time as bearable as possible. We thank parents for their support and we look forward to working as a team to make sure that our staff and learners remain safe and healthy.
We are receiving feedback on a daily basis from schools in and around our area, and a common thread that seems to be woven throughout the stories of positive cases, is that of parties and social events. Many learners are getting infected with COVID-19 when they attend social events with friends or even family members over weekends. We would like to reiterate the importance of NOT allowing your child to socialise, hang out with friends in shopping malls or even visiting family or neighbours. The rate of infections in Gauteng is increasing alarmingly, and although we may be on Level 3 lockdown, the danger is most certainly not over yet. In fact, we are yet to reach our peak. This is the time to be cautious and to please limit the movement of ourselves and our children, whilst at all times adhering to strict rules of handwashing, social distancing and wearing masks. Please talk to your child about the importance of maintaining their distance when walking to and from classes, break times and when interacting at schools. Many of our learners are struggling to maintain safety protocols and do not understand the importance of looking after themselves in order to stay safe. Your assistance with this will certainly help us here at school. We will continue to supervise, advise, correct and maintain all safety measures here at school, and your support and assistance in this will be greatly appreciated.
Loreto Convent School Team