The LOCKDOWN didn't KNOCK US DOWN
The 26th March saw the start of the National lockdown in South Africa.
Drakondale School of the Arts(situated in the Natal Midlands) had already made a decision not to allow ANYTHING to disrupt the flow of work to their students. Work for the final days of the second term was immediately sent out to all the girls for completion and we began making all the necessary preparations for going forward.
Term was set to re-open on Monday 13th April. By the 8th April they had set up separate Whattsapp groups for all the grades and work for the first days was emailed out individually to all the students. Students registered every morning for class on their various Whattsapp grade groups, and teachers were available for questions from 7h30 until 17h00 every day, Monday to Friday.
On a daily basis teachers sent their work to Mr Gresse, school principal , who checked the work and passed it on to Mrs Bokwe, school secretary, who sent out the work every afternoon for the next day. Additional work was also sent out to students on the various Whattsapp grade groups. All students followed the normal class timetable and lessons were held as normal. Completed work was photographed and returned to the teachers via Whattsapp.
With Grades 7 and 12 set to open on the 1st June, a decision was made to open the entire school as they only have 30 students and felt that social distancing would be no problem for them. They then set to work, ensuring that the entire school was sanitized, a deep cleaning done, and everything marked off and classrooms made ready for all the new rules and regulations. They also set up a very strict entrance procedure for the arrival of students into hostel on the Sunday evening.
On Sunday morning, the news that this opening was to be postponed seemed an impossibility, as students had already begun arriving from Johannesburg and other provinces. Knowing that all their systems were already in place and that they were taking no chances on the spread of the virus, they decided to go ahead with the opening.
Mr Gresse, the principal, said, “2020 is going to bring huge problems for many students later on in life. It is going to be very difficult for most schools to catch up on work that has been lost during the lockdown period . We are determined that our students should not have to face this. We CAN comfortably say that we have done everything we can to ensure that no student has lost any work during lockdown. Our half year exams are set to commence as normal in a weeks time, and we will be having our normal term break at the end of June - with everybody on track for Term 3.”
Wendy Clarke, the CEO, stated. “Our students have gone above and beyond and we are so proud of them. Our parents have also been exceptional in their understanding and preparedness to do whatever is necessary to ensure their children’s future. Our principal, Mr Botes Gresse, has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that everything has been done correctly. We are extremely fortunate to have him at the helm. This has not been an easy exercise for any of us, but we can proudly state that ‘LOCKDOWN didn’t KNOCK US DOWN’ at all.”
Auditions are open for 2021 for Grades 8 - 12. Under certain conditions, Drakondale is even able to accept several students for the third term of 2020 in Grades 7 - 9 only, ...if there is a need. Bearing in mind that small classes makes for individual attention, and not one of their classes has more than 10 students. Everything is in place for correct procedures during the lockdown, and the procedures have been approved by the Department of Education.