The school's enforced period of closure - and the extraordinary circumstances that have brought this about - brings a great sense of sadness, uncertainty, and concern for us all. St Peter’s College, however, is an incredibly optimistic place. Despite this being a very trying time, it has also been one full of hope. The students have been a marvel - cheery, positive and wonderfully kind to one another, albeit online. The whole St Peter’s College community has also really rallied round, and I want to thank every single parent who has taken the time to say a kind word, or send a short email of thanks to our staff during this period. Knowing that we have continued to provide a calm, reassuring presence for our students this past week, and knowing how appreciative the whole parent and student body has been for that, has been wonderful to hear.
I would like to pay tribute to the St Peter’s College staff - The manner in which they have embraced a challenging process and have implemented the online teaching programme is testament to their professionalism and dedication. In very difficult circumstances, they have pulled together - like so many others in the country right now - to do their jobs as well as they can. I know how grateful as the Headmaster I am for their efforts.
I want to take this opportunity to give some feedback on our families affected by COVID-19:
Where the St Peter’s College parent that tested positive for COVID-19, the father is still in self-quarantine. The father is slowly recovering and getting some energy back. He still has a bit of a tight chest but should be up and about in the course of the next week.
A mother of one of our Grade 10 students that tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving from the UK is still in self-quarantine but is feeling much better. Her husband has tested negative for the virus and even though they are still waiting for the COVID-19 test from her son, he has to date not been sick and shown any signs of having contracted the virus.
The staff member in our Administrative Department that had the flu is now fully recovered and showed no signs of having contracted COVID-19.
I've been in contact with all the families and will keep you informed of the progress they are making. Please do keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
It remains our policy to take a calm and considered approach as we respond to this unfolding challenge. Where we can’t predict, we can still prepare and whatever we prepare, we will always share. The past few days has again seen an escalation in the spread of the virus, both in South Africa and around the world. I know that you will all understand that the prime motive remains the health and safety of our staff, students and parents, in line with the advice and guidance of the relevant authorities. As further decisions are taken by the Government, we will continue to keep you informed of our plans and strategies as promptly as possible.
I leave you with an email I and the two Deputies received recently from our HOD of Life orientation, Holly Ryder-Nimb: She echoes my sentiments and I wouldn’t have done it the justice that it deserves. It is indicative of the wonderful staff that we have at St Peter’s College and how everyone has just rallied together to ensure that our students are still receiving a world-class education.
“I don’t know when I last felt such a part of a collaborative team and felt so motivated. I haven’t had a chance to even look at Nardus’ exercise plan as I’ve been at my computer since 09:00. My co-workers and I did take a lunch hour, they are unionised so we had to!
I have made so many phone calls and sent numerous emails, not to hear staff complain but because everyone just wants it to do better all the time. They are so concerned about the students they have given up on worrying about making mistakes, getting things wrong, sending the wrong version of the attachment that they are just jumping in and helping each other. It has been an amazing working environment. Even if my new boss, The Cat Cooper, is never available for advice because he sleeps a lot.
We’ve done the right thing in going Online – this will be the stuff of legends and PhD dissertations. Thank you to you for allowing the staff to step Bravely into the Future by taking a chance and risking greatly. You don’t know, and may never know, the liberty and confidence you’ve given people. Well done A-Team.
Right enough gushing over how wonderful you all are – celebrate this win and have another glass of wine. I’m even trying red wine – like a grown-up. Well, it’s a new dawn so all-new challenges exist”.
In the meantime, I wish all in the St Peter’s College family, whether in South Africa or abroad, fortitude and confidence. All here at the College will continue to provide our warm support as, together, we face the challenges that may lie ahead.
In Futurum Fortiter,