Easter Sunday, 12 April 2020
Dear Parents & Guardians
Greetings from Wynberg at a very stressful and uncertain time in the history of our country. Although widely expected, the devastating news that the national lockdown is being extended by another two weeks has come as a blow to many of us. Despite this, many things continue as per normal and I want to take this opportunity to wish all our Christian families a happy and blessed Easter. In difficult times being able to draw spiritual comfort and reassurance from your faith is of huge benefit and I trust that you all have time to strengthen and extend family and community ties.
From an educational point of view the staff are obviously keen for schooling to return to normal as soon as is humanly possible. No one must be under any illusion that catching up school time missed will be a herculean task which is going to put teachers, parents and students under huge pressure later in the year. We also realize that the extended lockdown has also put the economy and therefore the Wynberg community under severe financial pressure.
Now that we are entering an additional two weeks of lockdown, it is absolutely essential that all boys complete the academic work set for them knowing they have the support of their families at home, and that their teachers are readily available online. All boys will have been set some work which will be due to be completed or handed in by 15th April. Tutors, subject teachers, and the Vice-Principal of Academics have been in touch with all families this past week informing in detail how work will be communicated to you daily. I must caution you that it is going to require dedication and immense self-discipline from both student and teacher for this system to succeed. I appeal to all parents to assist in every way possible to ensure that your sons are working consistently.
The way things stand it is going to be very difficult to catch up academic time later in the year unless we take the drastic step of severely shortening, or even cancelling, further school holidays. This will mean long extended school terms when staff and teachers will face the prospect of working at a frenetic pace under severe time pressure. Thus, all work successfully completed now will allow more time for revision and consolidation later in the year and prevent burn out.
I mentioned earlier that we are aware of the financial pressure many of our families are experiencing. Just as every household budget is under strain the school is also dealing with our own financial pressure. In order to cope we have put all capital projects on hold and are keeping spending to an absolute minimum. Unfortunately, our fixed overheads, which are largely made up of salaries, remain high and we are committed to honoring these commitments. Thus, we are appealing to all families to continue paying school fees where at all possible. If you are experiencing difficulties, please contact our finance department who will advise you on what steps to follow.
I started this newsletter by mentioning the uncertain times in which we live. This proud school consisting of our school families, alumni, staff and the broader community has faced many crises in our 179 year history. Think of the three Frontier Wars from 1851 to 1878, two Anglo Boer Wars, two World Wars, the Great Depression, three major financial crashes, the last as recently as 2008, and a State of Emergency in the 1980’s. In each of these crises the school community stood together and weathered the storm. Today we arguably face our biggest crises yet, but I am confident that we will pull through and come back stronger and more resilient than before.
Jan de Waal
From the Locked-down Sports Desk
Grammy award winning singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell certainly didn’t coin the phrase, but in her 1970 hit “Big Yellow Taxi”, she perfectly encapsulated what we’re all feeling now. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
50 years later, this sentiment still rings true. In a matter of weeks we have swung from feelings of fervent excitement in anticipation of another Winter sports season to longing to leash up our hounds for a stroll at our local park.
Our boys will have all envisaged how the 2020 sporting year was to pan out and in these times of unprecedented uncertainty, expectations will have to be tempered. While our foremost focus must be keeping ourselves and our families safe, it is important to have one optimistic eye on the future. As South Africans, we know more than most how powerful sport is when it comes to rebuilding and uniting a fractured nation.
At Wynberg, we are in constant discussions with stakeholders, exploring every possible option to ensure we are ready to host and partake in all our marquee sporting events whenever the all clear is given. We will provide regular updates as and when we have relevant information to share.
We look forward to seeing you all on the touchline and in the stands cheering on our boys soon.
WBHS Sports Administrator