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Academy of Excellence School Policies

1. ADMISSION POLICY

Academy of Excellence Primary School is a private primary school dedicated to delivering accessible, quality education.  At Academy of Excellence Primary, we know that excellent education is as much about character development as academic achievement. To that end, Academy of Excellence Primary School emphasises the core values of “CARE” (Collaboration, Accountability, Responsibility, and Excellence) in the classroom, during sport, on the playground, and in the community. Academy of Excellence Primary teachers discuss these core values with scholars throughout the school day and work with families to implement them at home. Our core values are essential to setting our scholars on a path of learning and personal success at school and beyond!

2. ADMISSION AND ENROLMENT

  1. This admission policy as adopted by the school from time to time, has been written in accordance with section 29 of the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 and the National Education Policy Act No. 27 of 1996.
  2. The admission and enrolment of scholars to the school are at the discretion of the principal who may refuse a scholar’s admission to the school without giving reasons therefore or may grant temporary or provisional enrolment to the school subject to such further terms and conditions which the principal may impose. The principal may, at his/her sole discretion, cancel enrolment in accordance with the school’s Code of Conduct and Instalment Agreement. The prospective parents and -learners may/may not, by the discretion of the principal, be interviewed before final approval is given for enrolment. Learners whose home language is not English will have to pass a baseline assessment on their age level before being accepted.
  3. For the sake of clarity, this admission policy, together with the Parent Enrolment Agreement, regulates the enrolment and admission of the scholar to the School, the relationship between the school, the scholar, yourself, and/or the payer once the scholar is admitted and enrolled with the school.
  4. You will only receive the Instalment Agreement if the scholar’s Academy of Excellence Application has been accepted. The school, therefore, agrees to enrol the scholar, for the duration of their school education, subject to the terms and conditions of the Parent Enrolment Agreement, and subject to your agreement hereto.
  5. The scholar is only considered to be formally enrolled at the school when the Application Fee; the non-refundable fee payable by the parent/s upon online application to the school, as set out in the Schedule of Fees and relates to certain administrative costs involved in applying for a position for a student at the school, has been paid, this Agreement has been signed and the Enrolment Fee has been paid.
  6. You acknowledge that it is a privilege for the scholar to attend an independent school such as Academy of Excellence and not a right.
  7. As such you agree that you and/or the Payee; the person or entity who undertakes to be responsible for the payment of the scholar’s fees, as the case may be, are responsible for the full payment of all fees as set out above and in the Fees Structure; which sets out all fees payable.
  8. In light of the above, you agree and acknowledge that failure to pay fees will result in termination of your agreement with the school and the scholar’s enrolment at the school.

​3.  ADMISSION PROCESS

  1. The School’s centralised enrolment team at Academy of Excellence Support is responsible for the administration of the admission of scholars into Academy of Excellence School.
  2. A non-refundable application fee is charged for administration and must be paid at the time of application.
  3. The application form requires the parents to furnish the school with the following:
    1. Complete Academy of Excellence Application form for enrolment, available online.
    2. An unabridged birth certificate for the candidate / Academy of Excellence scholar (or an abridged birth certificate as well as a copy of the receipt for your unabridged birth certificate (if you are still waiting for one).
    3. A vaccination/immunization certificate, with all pages and the scholar’s name visible, for the candidate / Academy scholar.
    4. A current report card for the candidate Academy scholar
    5. Proof of residence for the parent/payee.
    6. A certified copy of the parent/payee’s identity document.
    7. A signed copy of the parent enrolment contract including the parent/payee’s initials on every page of the contract as well as scholar, parent, and payee detail. This is provided to you during the enrolment process.
    8. Signed the POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Privacy notice.
    9. Proof of payment of application fee (using the following reference: SURNAME+INITIALS of child and Grade) Example: Smith CJ Gr 6A
    10. The application will be processed and you will be informed within 5 business days of the outcome of your application. Hereafter, the enrolment fee is payable within 1 month.  During this period the parent/payee will also receive the instalment agreement to be signed and submitted to the school’s office or emailed to office@academyofexcellence.co.za
  4. The parent/payee will be required to supply the school with full personal details of both parents and Academy scholar/s.
    1. Copies regarding the scholar:
    2. 1 x ID Photo
    3. Unabridged Birth Certificate, ID Document / Study Permit.
    4. Clinic Card / Immunization card.
    5. Latest School Report (if currently attending another school).
    6. Transfer letter from the previous school.
  5. Copies of the parent/s:
    1. ID Document
    2. 3 Months Proof of Income
    3. 3 Months Bank Statements

    NOTE:  The above-stated copies will not be required for annual payers if they adhere to the contract.The above documentation can either be attached to the application form or emailed to office@academyofexcellence.co.za

4.  AGE NORMS

  1. The scholar must be of an appropriate age for that particular grade.
    Academy of Excellence will accept a scholar into a grade provided that the scholar has passed, in the reasonable opinion of the Academy of Excellence Admission Committee team, and upon presentation of requisite documentation (report card), the previous grade at their last school.
  2. Academy of Excellence will enrol a scholar in a grade as follows:
    Grade Appropriate Age scholar may not exceed:

    • Grade RR: Must be 4 years, turning 5 years in the school year
    • Grade R: Must be 5 years, turning 6 years in the school year
    • Grade 1: Must be 6 years, turning 7 years in the school year
    • Grade 2: 7 years, 8 years
    • Grade 3: 8 years, 9 years
    • Grade 4: 9 years, 10 years
    • Grade 5: 10 years, 11 years
    • Grade 6: 11 years, 12 years

    School zoning is irrelevant for admission to the school.

5.  ​ADMISSION OF NON-CITIZENS

Non-citizens will be admitted to the school provided that parents are in the possession of a temporary or permanent residence permit and the scholar must have a study permit.  A certified copy of the original permit must be submitted with the application. All documents MUST be kept up to date. If the parent/guardian does not renew or any necessary forms the contract will be terminated and the learner will be asked to leave the school.

​6.  ENROLMENT

Once a scholar is enrolled at Academy of Excellence, they will:

  1. Receive blended tuition.
  2. Adhere to Academy of Excellence’s values.
  3. Be taught in the language of instruction; i.e., English, Afrikaans, and Sesotho.
  4. Adhere to the Code of Conduct for Learners and the Dress Code.
  5. Respect the school leaders and staff at all times.
  6. Refrain from bringing any illegal substances into the school grounds.

7.  ​PARENTS’/PAYEE’S OBLIGATIONS

To fulfil our obligations we need your co-operation. Without detracting from any specific obligations contained in the Parent Enrolment Agreement, you are required to:

  1. Encourage the scholar in his/her studies, and give appropriate support at home;
  2. Keep the school informed of matters which affect the scholar;
  3. Maintain a courteous and constructive relationship with school staff;
  4. Attend meetings and otherwise keep in touch with the school where the scholar’s interests require you to do so.

Placement will only become final when all of the above has been processed, signed by the enrolment department and electronic notice is given to the applicants via email.

1. Statement of Intent

1.1.  At Vista Junior Academy, we endeavour to promote positive behaviour and interaction amongst all our pupils and staff. In vein, the school practice a system of positive reinforcement to encourage all our creative and talented pupil to realise their full potential within a healthy, balanced and safe environment.

2. Purpose

2.1. The Code of Conduct governs the conduct of all pupils and the relationship between the school and its pupils.

2.2. A commitment to excellence in all areas of endeavour, forms the basis of the Code of Conduct.

2.3. In line with the philosophy of “A Commitment to Excellence”, mutual respect between Vista Junior Academy and its pupils and a mature dignified interaction, is expected at all times.

2.4. Individuality and self-initiative are encouraged within the parameters set out below and having regard and respect at all times for the interest of fellow pupils and Vista Junior Academy

3. Dress and Appearance

3.1. Pupils are required to appear neat, tidy and clean at all times and must be dressed in the correct school uniform.

3.2. Plain black shoes, black trainers or black leather sandals with strap and a black belt may be of personal choice. No boots above ankle level nor platform soles may be worn.

3.3. Undersize or outsize of uniform may not be worn.

3.4. No make-up may be worn.

4. Hair

4.1. Hair must be tidy, clean and must be a natural colour. No inappropriate hairstyles are permitted.

5. Jewellery

5.1. Studs or sleepers may be worn only in the lower portion of the ear lobe. One per ear.

An appropriate neck chain, wrist band and/or watch is permitted.

6. Classroom Conduct

6.1. The school expects concentration on, and a commitment to, academic excellence.

To academic this end-

    1. No disruption of classroom routine will be tolerated.
    2. The ambience of the classroom must be one of warmth and mutual respect.
    3. Homework must always be timeously done, and thorough preparation must be carried out for all work, particularly before tests and examinations.
    4. Teachers and visitors must always be courteously greeted, both in classrooms and corridors.
    5. Pupils must be punctual for all classes and school activities.
    6. Pupils may not change any computer setups whatsoever. For example: no screen savers, autoexec, config, prompts, names, backgrounds, hardware or software settings may be changed. Pupils are not allowed to load software of any kind without permission from the Computer Teacher nor may they delete any files, change passwords/names or hack any computer systems or fellow pupils’ files.
    7. No inappropriate files/software will be tolerated. Pupils may not access, display, store or print socially unacceptable files or pictures, or have them in their possession on school premises. The school reserves the right to monitor material accessed by pupils.

7. General Code of Good behaviour is Expected from all Pupils

7.1. Pupils are expected to take pride in their school. Littering will not be tolerated. Cloakrooms are to be kept clean at all times.

7.2. No pupil may, through poor behaviour or negative attitude, disrupt the learning process of other pupils.

7.3. Pupils are expected to have respect for their teachers and fellow pupils and treat others with respect. Disrespectful behaviour or impertinence is totally unacceptable.

7.4. Punctuality is essential. Latecomers must report to the secretary at reception. Parents are expected to cooperate in this regard and to provide a note explaining late arrival. Habitual late arrival may lead to demerit.

7.5. While pupils are encouraged to think independently and to question, insolent or insulting behaviour with regard to teachers or fellow pupils is unacceptable.

7.6. Pupils are expected to move in a quiet and orderly fashion in the passageways and stairways. Moving along the left of passageways and stairways will ensure ease of movement to various venues.

7.7. No rough play or unruliness is allowed.

7.8. As pupils are regarded at all times by the general public as being representatives of Vista Junior Academy, misbehaviour or discourtesy will not be tolerated and could result in disciplinary action.

7.9. Pupils will not be permitted to leave the school for dental or medical appointments unless they are of an urgent nature and a letter is received from the pupil’s parent/guardian. Pupils who fail ill during school hours must report to the sick room or leaving the school.

8. Transgression which could result in the pupil being required to leave the school

8.1. Substance Abuse

8.1.1. Any pupil found to be in possession or under the influence of drugs or alcohol or participating, passively or actively, in activities relating to drugs or alcohol may require leaving school with immediate effect. This applies while on the school grounds or during any activity or outing.

8.1.2. The use of banned steroids as defined by the SAIDFS is forbidden. Use of the same will lead to disciplinary measures and banishment from sporting activities.

8.2. Smoking

Smoking is strictly forbidden, Pupils who are found to be smoking on school premises or in school uniform outside the school grounds, or on any school outing or in any other situation where they may be identifiable as Vista Junior Academy pupils may be required to leave the school with immediate effect. Any pupil found in the company of a group of pupils who are smoking will be treated as a smoker.

8.3. Theft

8.3.1. Theft is forbidden. Any pupil found stealing may be required to leave the school with immediate effect. Criminal charges may be laid. Vista Junior Academy reserves the right at its discretion and where an incident of theft is reasonably suspected, to open and inspect lockers, suitcases and bags.

8.3.2. Removal of any software or hardware from school computers will be treated as theft.

8.3.3. The removal of any material from the Media Centre or Computer Centres, without official authorization, is regarded as theft.

8.4. Victimisation

Victimisation including, but not limited to bullying, fighting, intimidation, sexual harassment and any display of racism or religious intolerance will be severely dealt with. Depending on the severity of the transgression, the pupil may be required to leave the school.

8.5. Vandalism

Vandalism will not be tolerated, and the pupil may be required to leave the school. Any damage or defacing of property belonging to the school and/or other persons will be regarded as a serious offence. The school reserves the right to claim compensation due to loss or damage to school property from the transgressor and/or their parents or guardians. Any damage or loss caused to the school and/or another person may be recompensed by the transgressor and/or his parent/ guardian.

8.6. Unauthorised Absence

Unauthorised absence from school or lessons constitutes a form of misconduct. If recurring, the pupil may be required to leave the school.

9. DISCIPLINE

9.1  Vista Junior Academy does not support corporal punishment in any form. The transgression of acceptable social conduct will not be tolerated at Vista Junior Academy. Pupils who infringe the code of a reasonable behaviour or are quilty of misconduct will be given letters of warning or demerits, according to, but not limited to the table following. In instances of serious misconduct, the pupil will be required to leave school. In allocating demerits, past history of the pupil, his/her degree of involvement in the commission of the offence and various other factors will be considered. The pupil will be required too immediately leave the school in instances where the pupil is quilty of an offence in terms of which 3 (three) demerits are awarded, or where the pupil has accumulated 3 (three) current demerits. The principal may at his/her discretion expunge current demerits at the conclusion of an academic year. This table is to be read in conjunction with the provisions of the Code of Conduct.

9.2. Only the principal or hi/her appointed agent, shall be entitled to impose demerits.

9.3. The principal or his/her appointed agent, shall in his/her sole discretion be entitled to call for and convene a Disciplinary Committee in circumstances where he/she deems it necessary.

9.4 The Disciplinary Committee shall consist of three members being the principal, or his/her appointed agent, and two Deputy principals/Senior Staff Members nominated by the principal or his/her appointed agent.

9.5 No legal representative is permitted, but the pupil may nominate a teacher or pupil of school as a representative/intermediary. The parents or guardians of the pupil may attend the proceedings as observers only.

9.6. A PUPIL MUST:

9.6.1. receive written notification of the date, time and venue of any disciplinary hearing,

9.6.2. be informed of alleged infringements of the Code of Conduct in writing, reasonably be entitled to, if so requested,

9.6.3. receive such particulars of the alleged infringements of the Code of Conduct as he/she may

9.6.4. be given the opportunity to be heard and to present his/her side of the matter and to present relevant facts,

9.6.5. be heard by an impartial person(s),

9.6.6. be treated with dignity during the process,

9.6.6. be informed of the decision of the Disciplinary Committee on whether or not he/she is quilty of misconduct and the penalty to be imposed.

9.7. The Chairperson shall cause a record of the proceedings of the hearing to be kept.

9.8. A pupil may appeal the decision of the Disciplinary Committee in writing within 5 (five) days of finding of the Disciplinary Committee.

9.9. Vista Junior Academy retains the right to act in applicable situations according to the Regulations Relating to Safety Measures at the Independent Schools as published in the Government Gazette No: 26663 on 20 August 2004. These regulations deal with, inter alia, violence, drugs and trespassing on Independent Schools premises.

9.10. Vista Junior Academy reserves the right to revise the Code of Conduct from time to time. Signatories will be advised of any such changes which will come into effect 3 (three) weeks after notification. Copies of the revised Code of conduct will be available on request from the school.

Offence Number of Demerits
Bunking/Truancy 1-3
Victimisation 1-3
Cheating and/or Cribbing 1-3
Insubordination/ teacher abuse 1-3
Vandalism 1-3
Smoking 2-3
Substance possession or use (drugs, alcohol, ect.) 2-3 The pupil may be required to leave the school and criminal charges may be laid.
Theft 1-3 The pupil may be required to leave the school and criminal charges may be laid.
Assault 1-3
Bringing the school into disrepute 1-3
Misuse of Computer or School Equipment 1-3
Accessory to any of the above offences 1-3
Conduct unbecoming Vista Junior Academy Pupil 1-3 

COVID-19 Response Team (CRT)

J v d Merwe – Risk Contact CRT; Risk Management; Psychosocial support; Counsellor;
M v Heerden – CRT Enforcement Officer; PPE
Allyson Titus – CRT; Health & Safety Officer; First Aider
Jolene van der Merwe: –     CRT; Health & Safety Officer; Parent Liaison; HR; Parent Body; SBST
J v d Merwe – CRT; Parent Liaison; First Aider; SBST; PPE
J v d Merwe – CRT; Psychosocial Support; Counsellor; SBST; Parent Body
Cornè Torres – CRT; Psychosocial Support; Counsellor, SBST, PPE
Cluster Directors – CRT Coordination; SBST
Teachers – CRT Implementation; SBST Referrals
Student Body – Student representative Council, CRT, Student support; SBST Referrals

Access Control

First gate at the front of the school open for entrance and exit to school, all visitors to report to front desk.

  • All visitors must complete visitors risk assessment form
  • No visitors may enter offices or classrooms; they must wait at the entrance for child/teacher to see them. No physical contact allowed.
  • Payments must be done electronically – not in the admin office.
  • Dept/health officials who want to inspect the school or LF’s visiting must be screened and be escorted to the Principal’s office where they will remain seated whilst you fetch the relevant parties.

Auxiliary Staff

Report at 7am each morning, sanitize, take temperature and sign in.

Thereafter:

  • The cleaning team, will sanitize register teachers’ classrooms, door handles, cupboard handles, desks, chairs, bathrooms,
  • Admin staff, wearing masks, will sanitize offices, door and cupboard handles, all surfaces and telephones each morning.
  • The waste disposal teams wearing masks, gloves will follow strict safety protocols for toxic waste disposal of dustbin content and remove external bulk trash every morning and afternoon.
  • The kitchen staff will clean and disinfect all surfaces, appliances, equipment, tables, stoves, sinks, floor and utensils whilst wearing headgear, masks, disposable aprons, gloves and sleeve protectors and closed shoes to handle food and beverages.
    • Wash hands with soap and water before touching or serving food.
    • If a surface is touched whilst handling food, hands must be washed, gloves replaced and then food may be touched.
    • Ensure proper food storage practices
    • All foodstuffs must be thoroughly rinsed before cooking/serving and meat thoroughly cooked.
    • Learner MAY NOT share utensils, food or drinks.
  • Appointed and trained auxiliary staff will continue with garden, cleaning and maintenance duties until 3pm then perform waste disposal duties.
  • The waste disposal team will follow strict protocols in emptying dustbins and placing sealed bags in the large waste disposal bins following protocols for toxic waste handling. (No recycling allowed – no learner may handle waste).

Teachers Responsibilities / Classroom Management & Protocols

All teachers must report at 7:00 to wait for their learners, register in hand.  Scanning of teacher and learners for temperature monitoring and signing of educator and learner registers will commence.

  • Teachers wearing masks, will sanitize their classrooms, door handles, cupboard handles, desks, chairs, and surfaces every morning.
  • The cleaning staff will be responsible for cleaning register classes wearing masks, disposable aprons, gloves and sleeve protectors to sanitize classrooms, door handles, cupboard handles, desks, chairs and surfaces every morning.
  • Teachers to meet learners at the door, greet and supervise hand sanitation whilst managing noise and social distancing.
  • Classes must have good circulation at least one window and a door or if cold an open window.
  • Manage social distancing and wearing of masks at all times.
  • Avoid touching learner books, tables, chairs, stationery, etc.
  • Learners to mark their own work and do corrections in pencil or colored pen/pencil and teacher to initial book without touching pages.
  • Give feedback using a stamp or emoticon stickers or drawings without touching books.
  • Give a maximum of two boys and two girls bathroom passes and monitor time in bathrooms.
  • Manage absenteeism by informing SMT when learners are absent. Ensure that learners provide a letter from their parents with reason for absenteeism.  Contact parents of learners who are absent for more than one day or without a parental letter to confirm if child is sick and if child has flu-like symptoms.  Encourage parents to keep sick children at home.
  • Remember: Leave no child behind in Academy – provide online work and support to learners.  Give activities a week in advance for learners to continue studies at home.

Keep yourself, learners and parents informed – communicate with parents:

Learners and employees to complete the screening form before entering the demisting booth and temperature scan when schools re-open AND EVERY MONDAY MORNING using the NDOH Covid-19 procedure and questionnaires.

Learner Orientation on the day of opening by Principal Teacher

Slides of the LabourNet Toolkit will be shown to the learners
Screenshots will be taken and given to the learners via WhatsApp

Work through the document explaining the facts

  • Follow basic principles and procedures for teachers and staff and learners.
  • Complete the Checklist on page 6.
  • Ask parents to read the facts as well and provide them with the slides that was shown to the learners.
  • Discuss with learners the checklist for students and children.
  • Give health education using the age-specific health education guidelines.
  • Reinforce the practices regularly!

Reinforce COVID-19 Poster Content Daily

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 and additional symptoms
    • Temperature; sore throat; dry cough; respiratory distress;
    • Body aches; loss of smell or taste; nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness.
  • How to correctly wear and remove a mask
  • How to wash hands thoroughly
  • Help prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19
  • Explain learner’s right to privacy
  • Explain impact of social stigma; bullying;
  • Occasions to wash your hands
    • Before breakfast
    • Before lunch
    • Before dinner
    • After using the toilet
    • After coughing and sneezing
    • When entering a classroom
    • When caring for the sick
    • When hands are dirty/sticky
    • After handling animals or animal waste.

Remember:  CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS

  • Mucus droplets can travel between 1 -2 meters when not wearing a mask.
  • There is no evidence at present that the disease is airborne – keep social distancing and wear your mask to protect yourself and others.
  • ALWAYS line up, stand, sit, eat or wait on a sprayed dot!
  • Do not hug or touch each other, hold or shake hands.
  • Do NOT share cups, eating utensils, food, drinks or stationery with others.
  • Do NOT tease anyone about being sick and NO name calling/Labelling!
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough and sneeze on your elbow or in a tissue – put tissue in trashcan (not pocket).
  • Stay at least 3m away from someone who is sick, even at home.
  • Regularly clean your desk and surfaces you touch at home.
  • Wear clean clothes and a clean mask every day (wash your mask daily).
  • Share what you learn about disease prevention with family, friends and siblings and practice it wherever you go.
  • Tell your parent or teacher if you are feeling sick and STAY AT HOME, get medicine and self-isolate.

Register Teacher Monitoring Duty

Register teacher to meet learners at the mist booth with register to record temperature taken by monitor and to check that each learner wears a different mask and clean clothing every day.

Note:  Learners wear school uniform.  Hair must be neat and tied up due to lack of hairdressing services.

Risk Assessment: Monitor Teacher & CRT

If a learner/employee/visitor is scanned and the temperature is ABOVE 38 ◦

  1. Reassure the learner/employee/staff member and ask if they ran because they were late?
  • Ask them discreetly to accompany the teacher to wait at the cool down station next to the screening teacher for rescanning after 5 minutes.
  • The teacher on duty at the cool down area will reassure the learner/employee/visitor not to worry and temperature will be re-scanned after 5-10 minutes.
  • Ask the learner/employee/visitor to complete the screening form whilst waiting for second temperature monitoring.
  • Scan the temperature after 5-10 minutes, if the temperature has dropped and all questions on the screening form are answered “NO”, the learner/employee/visitor may go through the mist booth again and then proceed to class.
  • If the temperature remains 38◦ C or above, the learner/employee/visitor must be escorted to the isolation room and the teacher on duty will notify the Principal and the parent.
  • Inform learner/employee/visitor of safety protocols within 8 minutes in a child appropriate/language appropriate, supportive manner.

Action when a learner appears ill / displays symptoms associated with COVID-19.

  • Isolate and reassure the learner
  • Complete screening form and follow procedures accordingly
  • Inform parent/guardian
  • Notify the principal
  • Notify Rector of EduLife Group.
  • Provincial Health Dept: NICD / National Hotline using numbers on the screening form.
  • Maintain CONFIDENTIALITY
  • Avoid Stigmatisation

NOTE:  The Rector together with the Principal will advise on further action to be taken once diagnosis is confirmed.

REMEMBER:  Schools are not expected to diagnose learners or identify cases of

COVID-19 and most respiratory illnesses are NOT COVID-19.

Confirmed COVID-19 case

  • The Rector and Principal will discuss the case with the school/teacher and identify people who have been in close contact with them and advise on actions or precautions.
  • If you have not been contacted, contact the public hotline 0800 029 999 who will refer you to the relevant department/person.
  • Rector/Principal/Health officials will do a risk assessment of the school and advise accordingly.
  • In most cases, closure of the school will be unnecessary and will be facility specific, based on size and learner mixing.

Exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19

  • The school will be update the status on the EMIS PORTAL.
  • All relevant people will be contacted and advise on any further actions or precautions that should be taken.

If a school has not been contacted regarding a possible case of COVID-19 in the school, the Principal/Administrator can contact the relevant provincial official whose details are listed on the screening and DBE Circular 1 of 2020 or NICD toll-free emergency hotline for COVID-19 on 0800 029 999 for referral to relevant contacts.

  • Public health officials, with the assistance of relevant staff, will conduct a school risk assessment and give recommendations on the management of learners and staff.
  • In most cases, closure of school will not be necessary. The decision to close will be school- and context- specific, and must follow the procedure stipulated in section 5.9 of the DBE Standard Operating Procedures as follows:
    • Preparing for possible closure of school should only be considered following recommendations from the accountable public health official. Temporarily closing a school is a possible strategy to prevent or slow the continued spread of COVID-19 in the school community.  School administrators are not expected to make decisions about dismissals or closure of schools and must follow the Departmental procedures in this regard.  Schools must seek guidance from local health officials to determine if, when, and for how long to take these steps.

POSSIBLE Exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19

  • All close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case are required to quarantine in their homes for 10 days while being monitored for symptoms. They may NOT attend school.
  • Learners who are not contacts of a confirmed case should attend school. Family and friends who have not had close contact with the confirmed case do not need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities such as reporting to school or work, unless they begin to develop symptoms.
  • All case contacts who become symptomatic will immediately be tested by health authorities for COVID-19, active contact tracing and self-quarantine of all contacts will be implemented.

NB:  Keeping learners at home or closing schools is a serious decision which may restrict the learners’ ability to acquire education, amongst other considerations.  The decision to direct learners to stay at home, because of possible exposure to, or infection with COVID-19 should be justified by the available scientific evidence and must be directed by the accountable health authorities.

Guidelines for employees:

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) 1993, tasks the employer where reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain a safe, healthy work environment that is without risk to employees.

Given its ability to rapidly spread, the management of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases is of paramount importance.  In this regard, the following steps must be observed as the minimum in any case as per DBE protocols.

Employee tested positive for COVID-19

  • The Rector/ Principal/ relevant public health officials will discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with the patient, and advise on any action or precaution that should be taken.
  • The Principal should formally grant sick leave or incapacity leave in accordance with the basic conditions of employment if the employee has exhausted their normal sick leave.
  • An assessment will be undertaken by the principal and advice on the management of learners and staff will be based on this assessment.
  • A risk assessment will be taken by the school, advised by the public health officials if needed.
  • The Principal should formally grant approval for all employees who worked closely with the infected employee to self-quarantine for a period of 5 days to ensure that the infection does not spread.
  • A list of the employees must be kept and submitted to the Provincial Department of Education, Independent Schools Directorate, Me, Mokone and contact must be maintained with such employees as a means of monitoring and support.
  • Reports of cases of COVID-19 and those in quarantine will be submitted to EMIS PORTAL.
  • The DPSA, can be informed, via the dedicated email address: COVID-19@dpsa.gov.za.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the infected person’s workspace must be conducted.
  • If an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is isolated in accordance with the Department of Health Guidelines, an employer may only allow an employee to return to work once all symptoms have cleared.

Employee exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case

  • According to the NDoH’s guidelines, all employees who were in close contact with the infected person are required to self-quarantine for 5 days at home or for a duration as prescribed by the DoH while being monitored for symptoms.
  • The Principal should formally grant approval for all employees who worked closely with the infected employee to self-quarantine for a period of 5 days, or as prescribed by the DoH to ensure that the infection does not spread. This must be done in consultation with the relevant authorities.
  • Such employees can be asked to work remotely and report daily.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the workspace must be conducted.
  • Employee must contact the Principal daily for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
  • All cases of those exposed must be reported to the DPSA in the required format, via the dedicated email address: COVID-19@dpsa.gov.za.

Employee exposed to an unconfirmed COVID-19 case

  • If an employee has been in contact with a person who is a suspected case but has not yet received a positive result for the COVID-19 test, the principal will decide whether restrictions or special control measures are necessary. The principal’s decision will be guided by NDoH, CRT, and the school management team/governing body.
  • Once the results are known, NDoH protocols must be implemented, if applicable.
  • All cases must be reported to the DPSA in the required format, via the dedicated email address: COVID-19@dpsa.gov.za.

Employee appears ill and reports for duty displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19

  • If employee displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, respiratory distress and a dry cough they must be advised to contact the NICD hotline, consult with a medical professional and follow the NDoH protocol for COVID-19.
  • The employee should be temporarily isolated in the isolation room while transport arrangements are made to a medical facility.
  • Any further action must be taken once there is a diagnosis confirmed by a medical professional.
  • All cases must be reported to the DPSA in the required format, via the dedicated email address: COVID-19@dpsa.gov.za.

 Note:  Employees must be encouraged to seek medical attention if they display flu like symptoms.  Do NOT report for duty – NOTIFY the principal of reason for absenteeism before 7am to facilitate learner care and teaching.

Employee refuses to report for duty based on the fear of being infected by COVID-19

  • The employment relationship is a legal link between employers and employees and stipulates that an employee will perform work under certain conditions in return for renumeration.
  • The onus is on the employee to demonstrate that the workplace is a risk and an unsafe space for the transmission of the virus.
  • Refusal to report for duty, contrary to the instructions of the Principal/SMT, is unlawful absenteeism and will be dealt with in terms of the Disciplinary Code.

Note: Permission for time off and/or Sick Leave must still be granted and valid sick notes are required whether reporting for duty at school or working from home due to comorbidities. 

Providing emotional and psychosocial support to employees and learners

In cases of extreme distress or emergency, follow an appropriate emergency protocol:

Identifying someone who needs help:

One or more of the following signs may be present:

  • persistent fear, worry and anxiety
  • persistent sadness, hopelessness and other overwhelming emotions
  • withdrawal from others (not social distancing)
  • loss of interest in personal appearance and unusual lack of energy
  • expression of rage or anger
  • missing work or classes, and
  • use of, or increased use of drugs and alcohol

If a learner is identified with one or more of the above signs:

  • The class teacher can speak to the learner to determine if the teacher can provide emotional or other support. If not, refer to the SBST for basic counselling or referral to specialised services.

If a learner is identified with one or more of the above signs:

  • The SMT can determine what kind of support is required and either provide the support, or refer to specialised services.

WHOLE SCHOOL SUPPORT

  • Talk to each class about the emotional effects of COVID-19
  • Teach each class about identifying and interpreting emotions:
    • How to handle or react to fear or anxiety;
    • How to identify depression;
    • And to inform a teacher when they identify a classmate or friend who is experiencing the above emotions
    • Teach and encourage positive self-talk
    • Provide counselling for the school and at-risk groups
    • Refer those that need further help to specialised services

Sources of psychological support

In addition to health professionals, the HR, SMT, Local Pastor can be contacted to assist.

Other Sources:

  • The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) 0800 567 567
  • Childline Hotline: 0800 055 555
  • Lovelife Free Plz Call Me: 083 323 1023
  • Lifeline Toll Free: 086 132 2322
  • SADAG Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567 / 0800 212 223 or SMS 31393
  • Substance Abuse Line: 0800 12 13 14 or SMS 32312
  • FAMSA Bloemfontein: 051 525 2395 or 051522 4199

IMPORTANT NUMBERS:

  • Principal
    083 557 2332
  • NICD Public Hotline
    0800 029 999
  • Ambulance services and hospitals:
    086 108 4124
    ER 24 Emergency: 084 124
    Rosepark Hospital Emergency: 0860 123 367 or 051 505 5111
    Bloemfontein Medi Clinic:  051 404 6225 or 051 404 6666
    Netcare 911: 010 209 8911
    Pelonomi Hospital: 051 405 1911

Academy of Excellence Primary School Policy for the Resolution of Grievances between Parents (Guardians) and School Staff Members

Introduction

Academy of Excellence Primary School Policy for the Resolution of Grievances Between Parents (Guardians) and School Staff Members was developed based on the recommendations within “Building and Protecting Relationships with Parents: “A Guide for Heads of Independent Schools” provided by the Independent Schools Association of South Africa.

We affirm that “a quality education benefits enormously from the establishment of a constructive relationship between parents, learners and educators” and commit to applying principles of good practice, policy, and procedure in building and maintaining relationships with the parents of our students.

This policy informs the formal and informal procedures in place to address issues that may arise relating to the function of the school.

Informal Resolution

Where issues, such as miscommunication or minor irritations, have been raised and require a solution, but do not appear to have potentially serious consequences, informal resolution is recommended:

  1. All parties involved should speak to one another to find an amicable, mutually acceptable solution to the problem.
  2. Detailed notes should be made during meetings or phone calls, and parents should be written following a meeting or phone call to confirm the outcome of the meeting and any agreed-upon next steps.

Where issues cannot be solved informally, a formal resolution involving the school’s Principal or School Management Team, depending on the nature of the issue, should take place.

Formal Resolution: Conciliation

Where issues cannot be solved through the informal resolution process, a formal resolution through conciliation is recommended:

  1. The complaint should be submitted via e-mail to the staff member in question and the Principal or School Management Team, depending on the nature of the complaint, of the school. This complaint should include the date of the occurrence, the people involved, the issue, as well as a statement of the action taken to resolve the grievance informally previously.
  2. The Principal or School Management Team should investigate the complaint, including interviewing the parent and the involved staff. In the case that the Principal is the subject of the complaint, a fellow school leader should lead the investigation.
  3. A meeting should be convened by the investigator with the complaining party to communicate the outcome of the investigation and any agreed-upon next steps.
  4. Detailed notes should be made during the meeting, and parents should be written to following a meeting to confirm the outcome of the meeting and any agreed-upon next steps.

Where issues cannot be solved through conciliation, a formal hearing should take place.

Formal Resolution: Hearing

Where issues cannot be solved through the conciliation process, a formal resolution through a hearing is recommended:

  1. Evidence of previous attempts to informally resolve or resolve via conciliation must be documented before a hearing can be called.
  2. The hearing will be conducted including an impartial chair, who may be appointed from outside Academy of Excellence Primary School, as well as the complainant, accused member of staff, and any relevant witnesses. The chair cannot have been involved with previous attempts to resolve this grievance.
  3. Any person called to the hearing is guaranteed a fair hearing and protected according to the Bill of Rights, and is thus entitled to question witnesses or statements made at the hearing. In the case of a minor, a parent or other nominated adult should be present.
  4. Legal representation of Academy of Excellence Primary School or the parent should not be present in this hearing. However, both parties can consult with their advisors before and after any meeting or hearing.

The decision to resolve via a hearing is very significant and may result in severe consequences for the staff members involved.  This process should therefore be approached with caution and avoided whenever informal resolution or conciliation can be used.

Cautionary Procedure for Parents

Where a parent’s behaviour “negatively affects your child’s or other children’s progress at the School, the well-being of School Staff, or brings the School into disrepute” (Academy of Excellence Primary School Parent Contract), the following is recommended:

  1. A meeting between the Principal, School Management Team, and the parent in question to discuss the issue and an informal resolution to the issue.
  2. A written warning via formal letter to the parent, which includes a description of the behaviour that has not been resolved via informal resolution, reference to the relevant contract clauses, and a statement that the negative behaviour should cease immediately to avoid cancellation of enrolment.
  3. A formal hearing, if the written warning is unsuccessful to bring about the cessation of the negative behaviour, similar to that described in the section above.
  4. Cancellation of the parent contract and the enrolment of the parent’s child at Academy of Excellence Primary School.

The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Academic Team, the School Management Team, and the Human Resource Department of Academy of Excellence Primary School Support.

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