Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 26/2020

18 September, 2020

Media Freedom Concerns in Zimbabwe 

At the end of last term, I received an email from a Zimbabwean student describing the reports of cases threatening media freedom, and calling on Waterford Kamhlaba for support. I had wanted to write something in the newsletter as the situation there unfolded, and was glad that her concern confirmed that this would be a good idea. We do not take up every international crisis (although any student or student committee is welcome to raise awareness of any issue they feel is important).

However, since this is a regional issue, and since we have so many Zimbabwean staff, students and families in our community, it is appropriate to make our voice heard on this matter. The very founding of the College was based on opposition to the denial of fundamental human rights and apartheid oppression and injustice in South Africa.

Media freedom is a crucial pillar of democracy and human rights. Zimbabweans are being jailed and harassed for scrutinizing the Zimbabwean government. Rallies supporting media freedom have been brutally repressed. At least three of our UWC values suggest that we should protect freedom of expression: international and intercultural understanding; personal responsibility and integrity; mutual responsibility and respect. Another UWC value is "a sense of idealism".

I would encourage all members of our community as we embark on our third term to remember the situation in Zimbabwe as you plan your activities and responsibilities for this last part of the year. Where will you focus your service, where can you lend your support, how can you make your voice heard?

 

Appreciation

Last week our community came together to offer condolences to the family of Mr. Joseph Sibanda who was a Chemistry teacher at our school for close to 10 years. Our students, staff, parents, alumni and governors supported the Sibanda family in the form of condolence emails, financial contributions and through attending the memorial service which was broadcast on zoom. I thank the Waterford family for this tremendous support.

 

Term 3 Calendar

As I mentioned last week, the Term 3 calendar has been published on the school website. I would like to ask students and parents to keep checking the latest version of the calendar on this website page. We will update the calendar from time to time and the latest version will always be the one on the website.

 

COVID-19 Positive Cases on Campus

Two students on campus have tested positive for COVID-19 after one of them returned from the August break on 7 September 2020. They and three others presented with symptoms during the regular daily screening. All five were moved to Elangeni, along with five others who had had close contact with them. The two who received positive tests were housed in a separate wing. The parents of the students have been informed and they have made requests that we keep them at school. Our counselling department is also helping with counselling and support. All students who present with symptoms are tested and put into isolation in Elangeni if positive, where they will be monitored for 10 days. All students that have been in contact with positive-testing students are placed in quarantine for 14 days. The Eswatini School Health Department, under the leadership of Dr. Sibandze, is closely monitoring the situation and is happy with our isolation procedures.

The school has been taking precautionary measures and following advice given by the Eswatini health authorities. Our Health and Safety Committee has been making sure gates are closed, and that anyone who does enter the campus gets screened and a history taken of their recent movements, activities and possible symptoms. The Committee continues to work hard to make sure that students are safe.

 

UWC Day 2020

On Monday September 21st, the UWC movement will have virtual activities to commemorate UWC Day 2020. This is the annual global celebration of the UWC mission and values, which takes place on 21 September every year, to coincide with the UN International Day of Peace. Each year, UWC Day is celebrated by thousands of people worldwide, including alumni, students and staff at UWC schools and colleges, national committees and friends. As a school we will be joining the movement in these celebrations; please be on the lookout for details about these activities on our social media platforms.

 

From the Parent-Staff Association (PSA)

Digital citizenship has a lot to do with activism these days. If you don't post and are silent on a topic, does it mean you agree? Is activism achieved through posting and sharing? If you have an opposing view should it lead to cyber-bullying?

What do you feel about these questions? Join us as we count down to the launch of our inaugural DIGI-TALKS webinar on 23 September 2020 for interesting conversation.

Remember, the event is targeted at students, parents, guardians, staff and alumni. It will feature Dr. Pernille Hansen, a member of our Parent-Staff Association (PSA) and a psychologist working as a mental health and psychosocial support consultant. To ensure you get maximum value from this event, please send any questions you have for Pernille, especially concerning your children’s psychosocial well-being in relation to their online engagement, in advance to psachairperson@waterford.sz

One question we have already received for Pernille is ‘what are signs or symptoms of distress that I should look out for in my child?’ 

We welcome suggestions for future speakers that you would like to see featured, as well as topics that you may want to see covered.

We invite you to the first zoom chat for an open discussion where every WK parent or guardian can participate, including staff and management. Please use this link to register for the talk and save the date.

Date: Wednesday 23 September

Time: 6:00 PM SAST

RSVP here or by sending an email to engagement@waterford.sz

 

Important Dates

        Wednesday 9 September – Friday 25 September: Form 5 Mock Exams

        Wednesday 16 September – Friday 2 October: IB2 Mock Exams

        Friday 13  November: Form 5 Graduation

        Saturday 14 November: IB2 Graduation

 

Any Questions?

If you have any questions and feedback, please don’t hesitate to send an email to principal@waterford.sz. If the question is of broad interest, it will be published (with the permission of the writer and without the name) in the newsletter. Parents are also encouraged to be in touch with their child’s tutor or residential head for any matters about which they may be concerned.

 

Kind regards

Stephen Lowry

Principal

 

© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2020

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