GENERAL INFORMATION

THOUGHTS ON BRINGING ALL OUR LEARNERS BACK

23 February 2021

Dear Parents

We are currently working on various options to try and find a solution to bring all the learners back to school every day. I know that many of our parents and educators want the learners back, but we will have to find a solution that we can present to the Education Department that they will find acceptable. Remember that all schools are supposed to be at 50% capacity but, if the WCED is satisfied that we can accommodate more, they will consider our proposal. Our challenges are that we are one of the largest schools in the Western Cape; we have large grades; the school building is designed to accommodate half of the current student population; timetable clashes if we change bell time for various grades, subject choices and specialist teachers; etc. It is not a simple solution.

Having said that, we were one of the first schools to return all our learners last year and many schools have still not returned all their learners. These include schools in our community. Every school is unique and has unique circumstances and challenges. You cannot compare a high school with 1460 learners and 84 educators to another school of 850 or 1000 or even 1300 learners, and coupled with that they also have different infrastructures. One definitely cannot compare a high school to a primary school. Some of these schools have not had all their learners since the early part of 2019. They are all totally different and each one of them will have to work out what is best for their school. Your suggestions and comments are appreciated but remember that our decisions have to be discussed, considered, scrutinized, evaluated, re-evaluated and then compared to regulations before we can implement them. The decisions we make have consequences and we cannot afford to make mistakes. The health and safety of 1460 learners and their family members and 121 staff members and all their family members are in our hands too. As I have said … it is not easy.

We are all eager to bring everyone back every day, but we also do not want to risk the health and safety of our learners and staff. Our solution cannot compromise this. Every one of our educators with comorbidities and who have permission to stay at home are teaching full time at school. They have all come back to teach and that alone is a vote of confidence in the way we have handled the pandemic. We also have an obligation to them to find the right solution.

We have received advice, praise and criticism for our decision to temporarily go back to alternating days. It was the best solution to implement immediately, but we do not see it as a permanent option. We want all our learners back.

We will continue to work on the right solution this week and probably the early part of next week I will keep you updated.

Yours sincerely

Mr L.M. Erasmus

HEADMASTER

PE LESSONS AND WEARING OF PE KIT

10 February 2021

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Welcome back to the new school year. We hope this will be a smooth-running year.

With regards to the Physical Ed lessons that form part of the Life Orientation syllabus, we will be doing Physical education for all grades this year. This is a good decision for a couple of reasons; namely : exercise releases stress, exercise develops core muscles which is critical for learners who sit at desks and at computers for a big part of the day, and it creates a 'feel good' space for learners amongst other things.

We have had to change a few arrangements to fit in with the safety protocols.

All learners that are doing Physical Ed as indicated on their timetables must arrive at school in their PE kit. They will stay in their kit for the whole school day. This must be the correct shorts and t-shirts, not "civvies". I am aware of the problem with some kit not being available as yet, your child can just wear appropriate kit until this new kit is available.

This will alleviate the number of people in the bathrooms trying to change into kit. If your child is not doing PE they must please come to school in their uniform.

Safety protocols will be adhered to at all times. Please encourage your child to participate in these lessons.

Any queries can be addressed to me at afriedenthal@fairmont.co.za

We look forward to starting this year.

Regards

Anne Friedenthal

Subject Head: Life Orientation

RETURN TO ALTERNATE DAYS FOR GRADE 8 - 11, MATRICS ATTEND ON ALL DAYS

19 February 2021

Dear Parents, Staff and Learners

The first week back with a full complement of learners presented us with a few challenges but overall we are satisfied with the progress, and the learners are settling in well. It is all still very new for the Grade 8s but they are a strong group and they will soon make their mark in the school. I also want to welcome you all back and hopefully we can get through this year successfully and safely. We have introduced all our new educators on the various social media platforms and I also want to welcome all our new learners who have joined us for the first time

I did indicate in my previous communications that it is up to the Education Department to allow us to have all the learners back or not. We, unfortunately, will have to reduce our numbers and we will have to go back to the arrangement we had at some stage last year when alternate days were followed by the juniors and seniors. We simply have too many learners at the school at one time and the congestion it creates makes it difficult to maintain social distancing in the corridors and quads, on the playgrounds, and on the staircases.

The Matrics will attend school every day, but the rest of the learners will have to rotate. I know that this will create supervision issues at home, but it is very important that we reduce the risk of infections and that we follow the Departmental regulations. The arrangements for the next month are as follows:

Mon 22 - Fri 26 Feb: WEEK 1 OF TIMETABLE:

  • Monday, 22 February: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Tuesday, 23 February: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Wednesday, 24 February: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Thursday, 25 February: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Friday, 26 February: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

Mon 1 - Fri 5 Mar: WEEK 2 OF TIMETABLE:

  • Monday, 1 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Tuesday, 2 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Wednesday, 3 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Thursday, 4 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Friday, 5 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

Mon 9 - Fri 12 Mar: WEEK 1 OF TIMETABLE:

  • Monday, 8 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Tuesday, 9 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Wednesday, 10 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Thursday, 11 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Friday, 12 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

Mon 15 - Fri 19 Mar: WEEK 2 OF TIMETABLE:

  • Monday, 15 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Tuesday, 16 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Wednesday, 17 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

  • Thursday, 18 March: Grade 12, Grade 9 and Grade 8 attend

  • Friday, 19 March: Grade 12, Grade 11 and Grade 10 attend

The above arrangements will have the Matrics attend all the days, thus a 100 % (20/20) and the other grades will attend 50% (10/20) of the school days. We also have to keep in mind that we work in a two-week cycle and that, over a month, all grades (except grade 12) will attend only half of the total academic days. This is not the ideal situation, but we are in a pandemic and need to do everything possible to keep our families safe and comply with regulations, and at the same time keep the academic programme moving ahead. It is also the responsibility of each individual at the school to maintain social distance and to follow the regulations.

We will continue to update you on academic issues and what we will do to cover all the work that needs to be done. Work will be given to learners to do at home when they are not at school on the alternate days. Work could be issued through instructions by their subject teachers when learners are at school, and we will also be able to use the Google Classrooms which were introduced last year to post work and material for learners working at home. Please note that the e-learning platforms will be used only to facilitate instruction and not to become learning platforms for home tuition. It is now also the third time that we have had to re-do the Assessment Calendar this year and as soon as it has been finalised, the calendar will be circulated.

The arrangements above can also change as levels of restriction change and I want to appeal to you to understand that we have to be able to make decisions on short notice and adapt to new challenges as they present themselves.

I will keep the communication lines open and continue to update you on the latest developments.

I wish you all the best for the rest of 2021.

Yours sincerely

Mr L.M. Erasmus

HEADMASTER

EXTRA ACCESS POINT FOR MORNING SCREENING

Dear Parents/Guardians

We have made a good start to the morning screening with most learners arriving on time. I am aware of the traffic congestion and frustration you face in the morning as a result of only having one entry point for learner screening. I have met with the COVID Team to discuss an alternative arrangement for the morning screening.

As from Friday, 19 February, the back gate on Reservoir Road will be used as an additional point of entry for learners. The learners will report to the Student Centre where they will be screened and registered for the day. It is imperative that learners using this entrance go through the new screening venue.

Please note we have two exit lanes at the main drop-off point. Most parents use the left lane with little or no traffic using the right-hand lane which leads to gridlock. We would like to encourage parents to make use of both lanes.

We will monitor this change closely and make adjustments accordingly.

Kind regards,

Mr F. Jansen van Rensburg

HEAD OF COVID-19 TEAM

OPERATING TIMES

Monday to Friday: 07:30 – 08:30. Both break times. An hour after school (Friday – ½ hour after school)

CONTACT

Please call Heidi Sparks at 021 976 1147. Click the link in the title to check our range of stock.

ABSENTEE PROCEDURE

If your child is absent, an email must be sent to their register teacher when they return to school to explain their absence. A doctor's note (as you will see below) is necessary if your child misses an assessment.

ABSENT FOR AN ASSESSMENT

Learners are not allowed to go home immediately after a test if they are ill. They have to stay until first break.

  • NO learner will be allowed to go home early on any day or after a test without a written letter from the parent requesting this. No emails will be accepted.

  • Permission to go home early will only be allowed in the case of an emergency.

  • If a learner is too ill to stay for the full day after a test, then they must not come to school to write.

  • In case of absenteeism a medical certificate or relevant chemist slip must be provided.

PLEASE NOTE:

All learners are required to be at school at the regular time - 07h50 - even if they are not writing a test. This time will be used for academic consolidation or tasks organised by various subject departments.

All parents are asked to be aware that when a child misses a Monday or a Thursday test, a certificate from the clinic, a doctor’s certificate or a relevant chemist slip is required. The date on the chemist slip and medication bought must pertain to the pupil’s absenteeism.

A medical certificate from either the clinic or the doctor is applicable for missing any exam.

No exceptions will be made for learners who miss formal assessments owing to holiday arrangements.

Grade 9 and Matric pupils must produce a doctor’s certificate for tests and exams missed as these are the two exit phases and the marks are externally moderated by the Education Department.

LEARNERS LEAVING EARLY

  1. If a learner feels too sick to continue the school day or have to leave for an appointment, he/she must adhere to the following “sign-out procedure”:

  2. The learner must bring a letter from the parent (or send an email) to school on the day of leaving early. They must report to the DCR (Discipline Control Room) to obtain permission to sign out.

  3. Please note that the front office will contact parents/guardians to fetch learners and that this arrangement should not be made by the learners. It is also important that parents allow for enough time for the process to be followed. Learners must therefore sign out at least 20 minutes before their collection time, and be ready for collection at the Front Office, at the time mentioned in the letter.

  4. After the necessary permission has been granted, learners will be signed out at reception by their guardian/parent who has arrived to fetch them.

  5. Please note that learners are not allowed to leave the school’s premises or class without following procedure or before the necessary documentation has been completed.

IN TOUCH PORTAL

The InTouch Portal allows access to certain useful information regarding your child here at Fairmont.

You can see:

  • Your child’s personalised calendar, including when they have each subject each day, as well as sport practises and matches, rehearsals and so forth.

  • A record of all correspondence from the school. These will be limited to those emails and text messages sent from our school administration system, and will not include those sent directly by a teacher from their work email accounts.

  • Homework that individual teachers have loaded on the portal for their subject and that is relevant to your child. However, most teachers use Google Classroom for this.

  • Your child’s archived school reports for each term. You will be able to download and print these, but they will not have any signatures or school stamps on them.

REGISTRATION:

You will be required to register in order to use this portal. Please note that the portal will not recognise any other email address other than the one we have recorded for you in our admin system.

The portal can be accessed on the following website (accessible on a computer or through any mobile device’s web browser):

https://fairmont.intouch.zone

When you visit the portal for the first time you will need to register using the email address which you supplied us with. During the registration process you will be sent a confirmation email which will include a link you can use to complete your registration. When you click on the link in the email you will be taken to the InTouch portal login page where you will need to enter your email address and a new password for accessing the website. If you require any help during the registration process, please try the following link: http://help.intouch.zone. If you are still experiencing problems please contact Mr Freeman at freeman@fairmont.co.za for further assistance.

Due to COVIC-19 there will unfortunately not be a Second-Hand Textbook Sale at the School this year. However, there are a few other options available:

  • the “Parents of Current Fairmont Learners” FB Page

  • friends, neighbours or family members

  • Fairmont Library. Mrs Venter has some books available for re-sale, please contact her on textbooks@fairmont.co.za

PLEASE NAVIGATE TO OUR ONLINE STORE TO PLACE YOUR ORDERS AND TO PAY.

SCHOOL TIMES

School will commence at 07h50 and end each day at 14h35

NB: There may be occasions when pupils will be required to stay up to ten minutes later without prior warning.