Over the last few months, Kingswood has been on an incredible journey. A journey that as a school, country and the world at large we never saw coming.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down and as yet we do not know just how our world will be affected going forward.
However, at Kingswood College, we have endeavoured to not let this pandemic hinder our core business: education.
Throughout the lockdown period our dedicated teachers worked hard to reframe, rethink and relook at the way in which they teach and how their curriculum could be brought to an online learning platform.
Our teachers embraced this challenge and in the process learnt a great deal about themselves and were able to, in many cases acquire new skills which will be able to be incorporated into their teaching spaces going forward.
We have been using Google Classrooms and Google Meets to interact with our pupils across South Africa and further afield and on the whole, our pupils have adjusted and adapted to this new way of learning.
Now, more than ever, we realise that online teaching can never fully replace face-to-face interactions and that classrooms, although the way they operate may change in the future, can never be replaced by full-time online teaching.
Young people need to socialise and be surrounded by peers to challenge and push them to greater heights, and so too our teachers can only really grasp the needs of a pupil if they are able to see them in their totality.
School is also so much more than just being taught the prescribed curriculum. It is the life-long friendships, the fun in the boarding houses, the cheering alongside the sports field and so much more.
However, despite the fact that this pandemic has forced us apart, it is important to note that under the circumstances our teachers and pupils alike have done so well in these unchartered territory and we can be proud of their efforts.
Hours of work and preparations have gone into ensuring that Kingswood is compliant as we reopen our school to pupils. With our health and safety certificate in hand and all proper precautions being taken to ensure the safety of our pupils, we have welcomed having pupils back on our campus.
At the beginning of the second half of term our Matric pupils returned to our campus to continue their preparations and learning for their upcoming final year assessments.
Our Grade 7 pupils returned at the start of last week and we look forward to welcoming back the Grade 11s, Grade 6s, 5s and 4s this week as well.
In the junior grades, class contact time will, in the beginning be limited to shorter school day hours in order for our pupils to adjust to wearing a mask at all times.
As they become more comfortable with the new procedures and protocols, we will be making the contact times not only more frequent, but also for longer periods of the school day. On the days where our pupils are not in class, they will continue with online learning either from the boarding houses or from home.
In the senior school, the school day remains the same but a number of precautions has been put in place to limit the time spent moving between classrooms. Different grades will also be taught in different teaching blocks for the time being.
In the next few weeks we will be welcoming even more grades back to our campus. Our approach has been a cautious one as we have wanted to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not only our pupils but also our staff.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unsettling time for us all, we need to remember that as a school it falls upon us to continue to educate our pupils and that we need to keep the academic programme going for the benefit of our young leaders of tomorrow.
To see more updates on our COVID-19 measures and protocol please click here: https://sites.google.com/kingswoodcollege.com/covid-19-protocols