Parent Newsletter – December 2020

Dear Parents / Guardians

 

END OF A LONG YEAR

Today brings us to the end of what has been a short term but a long and difficult year. A unique year never to be repeated. On the evening of 17 March when it was announced that the country would go into lockdown there were not many people, if any, who could have predicted the year we were to have.

 

Despite the difficult year all of us have experienced we have to continually look for the silver lining. When one stops and looks hard enough, there are many positives we can consider.

 

Prior to Covid-19, it has often been said that the 21st Century requires a workforce that can adapt to a changing world and working environment. How prophetic this has proved to be. The original “21st Century skills” cited were the “4Cs”: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. These 4C skills were pushed to the fore this year and have proved to be more important than ever. Not only have they proved to be important but the reality is those of us who have adapted to them best and embraced them, will reap the rewards going forward.

 

In terms of the academic programme, the teachers need to be congratulated on the whole for the manner in which they tackled the burden of online teaching and for implementing it as effectively as they did. Looking back, I believe we can confidently say that as a school we have coped well.

 

Through all of this, what has once again become clear, is the fact that quality schools require quality teachers. Quality teachers are essential for quality outcomes. Quality teachers with a passion for teaching, who are good role models and who care about each boy will have a positive effect on the individual and ultimately the entire school. This can, however, only be truly achieved when these teachers are in the classroom. I really do look forward to having everyone back in the classroom next year.

 

If nothing else, this year has taught us to be adaptable. Nothing has been predictable and even now, we do not know what the future holds. The ability to make new plans and to continually have to change those plans has been a skill all of us have had to master.

 

In being adaptable, we have had to be resilient. Resilience is a character trait that has traditionally come easily to South Africans. The nature of our country and the society in which we live brings this out in us. Our resilience has been tested more than ever this year. We have had to stand strong, be robust and irrepressible. For those of us who have allowed our resilience to be strengthened, this will prove to be invaluable in the world in which we live. Resilient people always come out on top.

 

A huge positive that has come out of this Covid year has to be the togetherness many of us have experienced. While we may have been separated from friends and family for long periods of time, we were also forced together. I believe many family bonds have never been stronger. After families spending time together for enforced periods of time many relationships have been renewed, reenergised and family bonds have been strengthened. Despite all the hardships so many have experienced, one cannot put a value on this.

 

It has been a long and hard year where many of us are battered and bruised and much has been lost yet we must not lose sight of all that has been gained.

 

Furthermore, when one considers the history of the school, we are drawn to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 where not only was the school closed, sport cancelled and the matric exams delayed (does it not all sound so familiar) but where three of the school’s boys also lost their lives. Our country and this school has had to weather storms like this before. In being resilient, in standing together, we have survived these storms before and we survive them again.

 

Reflecting on the year it would be remiss of me not to thank you, the parents, for your continued support throughout the year. The school is fully aware that many parents were inconvenienced by the day-to-day and week-to-week arrangements of the school. Many parents had to reprioritise their financial obligations so as to continue to pay school fees. It has only been with your understanding, assistance and co-operation that the school has managed to continue to function as well as could have been expected. For the great lengths and sacrifices many of our parents have had to go through, the school is deeply appreciative. Thank you!

 

COVID UPDATE

While following all the necessary protocols and procedures the school phased in the return of our boys at a much faster rate than many others schools. This was done in a safe environment so as to get as many boys back in the classroom as soon as possible. Despite this phased in approach and the size of our school the number of Covid cases remains low. To date a total of 20 boys and nine staff members (five teaching staff and four non-teaching staff) have contracted the virus. Over a time period of 6 months, we believe the virus has been contained well. With the necessary management structures in place, the school continues to provide a controlled and safe space for the boys and staff at our school.

 

Parents and boys are reminded that the virus is still very much alive and active and we cannot become complacent in terms of our management of the virus. With the current dramatic rise in positive Covid cases in the country, every indication is that it will be with us for the foreseeable future. Going into the new year, we can expect many of the same protocols having to be followed.

 

Please remain vigilant and responsible in terms of all the precautionary measures which still need to take place so as to avoid contracting the virus. The importance of the regular washing and sanitizing of hands, maintaining social distancing and most importantly, the wearing of a face mask in public should not be underestimated.

The year-end holiday and the festive season will no doubt increase the spread of the virus. Please ensure your son continues to practice socially responsible behaviour at all times. Uncontrolled gatherings of people are a sure way to assist in infection and the spread of the virus. Gatherings of large groups of people in small areas, where ventilation is poor and masks are removed, pose an extremely high risk and should be avoided at all costs (despite the holiday and festive season). The risk to your son’s health and in turn, that of his family and friends, remains a real threat.

 

Thank you to all the parents for your continued trust in the school and for your support and assistance in providing a safe space for all at PBHS. It is only in working together that we have been able to maintain a safe environment.

 

START OF YEAR ARRANGEMENTS

The academic year for the boys will start on Wednesday 27th January 2021. Covid screening will take place at the four school entrances for the first day only. Thereafter, screening will take place at registration venues and will no longer be done at the school entrances.

 

Form II to IV boys must meet at the front of the main building by 07:30 for the start of the year assembly (after which they will disperse to house assembly venues and then to their allocated tutors).

 

Please note that school daily times for 2021 will revert to those previously used, namely registration is at 07:30 and the school day will end at 14:00 (Monday to Thursday) and at 13:45 on Fridays.

 

The wearing of face masks will remain obligatory until further notice and sanitising protocols will remain unchanged within the school.

 

The school tuckshop will remain closed until further notice (due to Covid restrictions).

 

SPORT AND EXTRA MURAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE START OF 2021

 

Wednesday 20 January

Cricket1st, 2nd, 16A (Colts) & 15A teams playing in pre-season warmup matches.

 

Thursday 21 January

Cricket – 1st, 2nd, 16A (Colts) & 15A teams playing in pre-season warmup matches.

Basketball – All A-team squads pre-season clinics and training from 8h00 -13h30.

Water Polo – Seniors (all opens except first squad) 08:00 – 09:30

1st team squad 09:30 – 11:00

 

Friday 22 January

Cricket – 1st, 2nd,16A (Colts) and 15A teams playing in pre-season warmup matches.

Basketball – All A-team squads pre-season clinics and training from 08h00 -13h30.

Water Polo – Juniors (all U15 & U16 players) 08:00 – 09:30

1st team squad 09:30 – 11:00

 

Saturday 23 January

Cricket – 1st, 2nd,16A (Colts) and 15A teams playing in pre-season warmup matches.

Basketball – All A-team squads pre-season clinics and training from 08h00 -13h30.

Water Polo – Seniors (all opens except first squad) 08:00 – 09:30

1st team squad 09:30 – 11:00

 

Sunday 24 January

Rest Day

 

Monday 25 January

Water Polo – Juniors (all U15 & U16 players) 10:00 – 11:30

Tennis – Practice (squad). All players are welcome 09h00-12h00

 

Fitness testing for 1st team squads (Dayboys) 08h00 – 10h00:

  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Water Polo
  • Cricket

 

Tuesday 26 Jan

Water Polo – Juniors (all U15 & U16 players) 10:00 – 11:30

Tennis – Practice (squad). All players are welcome 09h00-12h00

 

Fitness testing for 1st team squads (Boarders & Dayboys who missed Monday) 08h00 – 10h00:

  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Water Polo
  • Cricket

 

Cricket – 1st team practice 10h30-12h00

 

Wednesday 27 Jan

Cricket – U14 Trials (1st round) 14h30-16h30

U16 A practice (Colts) 14h30-16h00

U15A practice 16h00-17h30

Water Polo – U15 trials 14h15-15h30

U16 trials 15h30-17h00

Opens trials 17h00-18h30

Basketball – U15 & U16 trials 16h00-17h30

Swimming – U14 trials 13h45 -14h15

Open Trials 14:30 – 16:30

 

Thursday 28 January

Cricket – U14 Trials (2nd round) 14h30-16h30

U16 A practice (Colts) 14h30-16h00

U15A practice 16h00-17h30

1st team match vs St Albans on Hofmeyr (CSA T20)

 

Water Polo – U14 trials 14h15-16h00

U15 games/trials 16h00-17h00

U16 games/trials 17h00-18h00

Opens games/trials 18h00-19h00

 

Basketball – U14 trials 14h30-16h00

U15 & U16 trials 16h00-17h30

Open trials 16h30-17h30

 

Saturday 30 January

Summer Sports Day (Old Boys Day)

 

The day will include the following sports:

  • Cricket
  • Climbing
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Squash
  • Tennis
  • Table Tennis
  • Basketball (Covid variation)
  • Soccer (Covid variation)
  • Water polo (Covid variation)

 

For more details, please click on the following the link below:

https://pbhsoba.alumnet.co.za/Event/SUMMERSPORTSDAY2021

 

APPEARANCE AND HAIR

When your sons return to school in the New Year, please ensure their uniform is correct and their appearance is in line with the school rules. Please take note of the regulations that pertain to a boy’s hair style as per the school’s Code of Conduct (see the two points below). These rules will be strictly enforced as from the start of next year. Boys whose appearance is not up to standard will be sent home on the first day of school until such time that they meet with the schools requirements.

 

  1. Hair must be cut to an acceptable and uniform length and must always be neat and clean. There should not be a significant difference in length of the hair on the sides and the top of the head. Hairstyles must be conservative by nature, taking the boy’s culture into consideration.

 

  1. No hair products such as gel and/or dyes are permitted and no unusual styles will be permitted. Boys may not perm or straighten their hair.

 

USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Due to current Covid protocols, the schools facilities may not be used without supervision. For this reason the schools facilities will not be available to boys, old boys or parents of the school during the school holiday. Only with supervision of a school staff member may the facilities be used.

 

THANK YOU and FAREWELL TO STAFF

As is the case at the end of each year, there are always staff members to whom we have to say farewell;

Mr Abri Jordaan will be retiring from teaching after 23 years as a music teacher at the school.

Mrs Liezel van den Linde, who is the lab assistant at the school and works in the Life Sciences and Physical Science Departments, will be leaving the school after three years as she and her family emigrate to Australia.

Dr Matthew Lombard, the school’s saxophone teacher, after having returned to the school this year to resume his teaching career in South Africa, has subsequently been afforded the opportunity to teach in the United Kingdom.

 

To these staff members a very special word of thank you for your services to the school. All of you have added value in your varied capacities, over varied periods of time. For all your efforts and the difference you have made the school is deeply grateful.

 

To Dr Laurel Becker (English), Mrs Annette Stobbart (Afrikaans) and Mr Ian O’Donoghue (Geography), a very special word of thank you for assisting the school as substitute teachers over the past six months. Your input during a difficult year where long term substitutes were required is truly appreciated.

 

HAPPY HOLLIDAY 

I wish you all a safe and merry festive season as you enjoy the holiday and spend quality time with your families. I look forward to seeing you all safe, fit and healthy in 2021 as we look to build on the momentum we have created at the end of this year.

 

 

 

GJ HASSENKAMP

HEADMASTER

Posted by pbhs / Posted on 11 Dec
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