At the time of writing this newsletter, the Grades 5 – 7 boys have departed for their much-anticipated camps. While for many it is their first for a long time, for some, it is their first. In the buildup and preparation for it, there was some discourse around the pleasure of some things returning to normal. Contrary to this view, however, I wish that we do not return to normal. And while I am not a scientific expert who can offer a view on the origins and impact of the virus, I think that the normal that we were used to is what lead us to not being able to adapt sufficiently enough to limit the residual impact felt by the pandemic.
Nevertheless, I would like to share about what I am hopeful about. And that is being able to move to a new place – a place where we live in touch with our humanity and not visit it at the occasional funeral or wedding. We have learnt that love and compassion are not luxuries, but they are necessities. I am hopeful, therefore, that we will rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Schools play an integral part in the realisation of our humanity. There are two real emotions that boys, staff, and parents regularly feel that are somehow perceived negatively. They are anxiety and fear. While I recognise my limitations in defining what they are, I do understand that anxiety is what puts us in touch with our humanity because it tells us that something is wrong. And if we are not afraid then we have not grasped what is at stake. The absence of anxiety and fear means that we are not in touch with what is wrong in our world but the presence of it means that we are more in touch with our humanity. The purpose of our humanity in this school, therefore, is to help us fix what we previously broke. Our humanity is not about returning to normal, our humanity is about showing the world what schools should look like – all schools and not just the privileged ones.
It can be difficult to explain human nature, but that does not mean we should lose faith or hope in ourselves or others. Bringing humanity into education, into our school, is about not returning to normal but embracing a new world order. Consider, for a moment, how profound an education is: every human-made object in the world is the result of one. Every car, computer, particle accelerator, thatched hut, hairstyle, soufflé, piano concerto. These are the products not only of the skilled hands and minds of their creators, but the result of whole traditions and systems of education. Change education (change our school), and you change the world.
Spectators at sport events
We are pleased with the recent amendment of the gazette released by the DBE which allows for spectators at school sporting events. We have missed you and I am certain that you missed this aspect of your son’s development as well as the sense of community that it brings. Instead of giving you my personal, philosophical views about the merits of being to watch yours sons play sport, I thought that I would solicit their perspectives, as well as that of the coaches, and present it to you straight from their mouths:
Things that the boys and staff have missed:
- The encouragement.
- Talking about highs and lows after the match.
- Food… bacon and egg rolls.
- My nana watching.
- The cheers and clapping.
- The treats.
- Parents cannot record and have fun with me.
- Always having someone in my corner.
- They miss my good performances.
Things that they have not missed:
- Being shouted at by other parents.
- Being told I suck.
- Reffing and the abuse I got – I am a teacher not an IRB ref.
- The tension on the side of the field.
- Not getting embarrassed.
- The shouting.
- Parents not getting upset.
- Telling me what to do – I could think more for myself while playing.
- When parents try to coach while we are on the pitch.
- The pressure and the intensity.
Protocols as spectators
The following health and safety measures must be adhered to when coming onto the campus. Your understanding and support is appreciated.
- Face masks must be worn by all persons entering the venues where the activities take place, change rooms or training areas. Boys who are participating in training or matches accompanied by vigorous exercise will not be required to do so while they are playing.
- Sufficient quantities of hand sanitisers, with at least 70% alcohol content, will be available for use by all officials, coaches, assistants, participants and supporters.
- There will also be facilities for washing of hands with soap and water.
- Subject to the requirements of any contact activity, social distancing must be maintained at all times. We appeal to parents to limit, where possible, the number of spectators per boy to three people.
- The sharing of drinks and drink containers is not allowed.
- There will be a Covid-19 compliance officer at each venue. Please respect the directives given by him/her.
- All participants and spectators must undergo health and temperature screening upon entry.
- For contact tracing purposes only, a register of all officials, participants and spectators from visiting and hosting schools who are attending a school match or event must be kept by the host school for at least 21 days. A Google form declaration will be sent in advance of each event. A hard copy will also be available for completing at the venue.
- We are legally obliged to do this in conjunction with the other regulations. We need to consider physical distancing at certain facilities. This may impact the number of spectators at our pool as an example but details will follow per event
To conclude this thread – a new world by not returning to normal and the coming together in community once again – I encourage us to reflect on the notion that in community we can do more to help someone than what we are able to do as individuals. And where the boys are concerned – most things can be developed in isolation except character. This is about them. I am excited that the village that raises them is growing and coming together again.