5th March 21
This week has been full of preparations for the return to face-to-face lessons next Monday 8th March. Staff have been busy in the building, making the final adjustments for the return of the community ensuring signage, sanitising products and equipment is all up to the highest standards. There have been online meetings and training with staff and students to discuss the safe return and talks on the next steps. Finally, we have been communicating to parents, guardian and agents through email, letters and a specially organised re-opening Question and Answer session on Thursday.
We are thrilled to be welcoming back the student body from around the world, offering the continued high level of safety, care and support in the quarantining arrangements in boarding and contact with those outside of school. We are offering a blended approach to our lessons until the beginning of the Easter break on Friday the 26th March, after which all students are expected back for face-to-face lessons for our return after the holiday on Monday 12th April. Throughout the last few months, the Personal Tutors have been in contact with their tutees on a daily basis, as well as regular contact with Directors of Studies and Houseparents, and wellbeing and welfare remain at the top of our priority list at this time and at all times.
It is important to recognise that the return to school is very exciting for some, but for others presents a level of anxiety and we are fully aware that in the first few days back in college there will be some calibration required. On Monday we start the Lateral Flow Testing for the students based in the UK and appointments have been sent to all students indicating the time to come into college on that day. That will be followed by two further tests in school before the end of the term, followed by another at home. The Lateral Flow Tests are a key measure to ensure that the community continues to be safe and although these are optional, we strongly encourage the students to take the tests. The student body and staff are taking these tests to support the safe return to life at the college, reassuring the DLD community and building of our values of tolerance, kindness and respect.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of the current Student Council and their support of the students, as well as providing an incredibly valuable voice for the student body. We are currently underway with the interviewing for the new Student Council, who start from our return in April. Last week we were delighted to receive external national recognition for the work of the Student Council, the Student Mentors, our Lower School PT Representatives and the Boarding Huddle Leaders when we won the Independent Schools Association Award for ‘Innovation in Pupil Voice’. I would like to publicly thank all the students and staff who have contributed to this and for the continued excellent work that they offer the community.
I wish you all a safe and prosperous week ahead and a very happy International Women’s Day on Monday the 8th March and the beginning of our celebrations for Women’s History Month.
Thomas Hadcroft, Senior Vice Principal (Pastoral)