What is the recent data show about young children being transmitters of the disease?

Children are not super spreaders and the transmission in children is much lower than adults. New research from Israel concludes that children up to the age of 9 years have little to do with the spread of COVID-19, “In conclusion, our study’s findings suggest that children aged 0 to 9 years did not have substantial rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection during school attendance periods.” Published in (JAMA) the Journal of American Medical Association, LINK”

Data on COVID-19 transmission in the educational settings, shows minimal transmission that was much lower than community-based transmission. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2021-051438

Will staff vaccinations be mandatory?

No, but 99% are opting to be vaccinated.

When will staff be vaccinated?

Some staff members on Discovery have already received their vaccinations this week.
Hopefully, all of the SAHETI staff will be vaccinated within the next two weeks.

What is the value in vaccination?

(Information supplied by Dr Angela Hajimarkos)
There is value in vaccination! It will offer protection and help restart safe social gathering with friends and family. We are social creatures and we don’t do well when we cannot spend time with those that are dearest to us. I feel that people’s decision to vaccinate has to be a personal choice and they should feel empowered in making their decision. Whilecelebrities and politicians raise their sleeves to take their vaccine on television, research has proven that we are more receptive and open to considering vaccination when we getmessages from our personal doctors, community nurse or friends and family that havevaccinated successfully.

There is power in words. Labeling people as “anti‐Vaxxers” is accusatory and these people can rather be referred to as “those with questions surrounding vaccination”. When we say that the “vaccines have been authorized based on clinical testing” this is far moreencouraging than using terms such as “emergency Use Authorization”. Vaccine campaigns should educate and not discriminate.

I am advocating vaccination in order to protect against Covid infection and in order to ensure that our children inherit a Covid‐19 free world. They deserve to go to school uninterrupted. They deserve to play their sport and act on stage. They should be able to get on a flight safely and travel to further broaden their horizons and grab global opportunities. They should have 21st birthdays and weddings! When Google launched the “get back to what you love” campaign they showed that words such as “quarantine”,“social distancing” and “lockdown” could be erased from their browser and replaced withthose that symbolize a return to normality. Let’s get back to what we love! Let’s vaccinate!

Why should I be a guinea pig? Let me wait and see

(Information supplied by Dr Angela Hajimarkos)
Some vaccine skeptics have suggested that, if everyone else is getting the jab, they don’t need to. This is very dangerous logic, for several reasons.

In order to stop the spread of coronavirus and end the pandemic, we are reliant on the vast majority of the population to take the vaccine, develop herd immunity against the virus and protect those mostvulnerable from it. Herd immunity (contrary to initial views) requires between 70 and 90    per cent of the population to be vaccinated. So even if a few million decided against it – the virus would still be circulating – and we would be back to square one. If you take the vaccine, then you should do it for everyone around  you, if not foryourself.

There are 7.79 billion people on the planet with 174 million Covid infections recorded. With 2 billion vaccines administered globally, vaccine‐induced immunity is far more achievable and safer than natural immunity post infection. As variants emerge and re‐infections become a reality, vaccines that offer immunity against mutated viruses will become the only way to avoid infection.

Will my DNA be altered?

(Information supplied by Dr Angela Hajimarkos)
Vaccines do not alter your DNA. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that they do – in fact it is physically impossible. Concerns about genetic modification have likely come from the novel way in which both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines were put together. They are mRNA vaccines – the“m” standing for messenger.

RNA is similar in structure to DNA, but its role is to carry out instructions encoded in our DNA. Essentially it tells our DNA how to behave – the Pfizer vaccine used a part of Covid19’s RNA to INSTRUCT our cells to produce ANTIGENS – these ANTIGENS are thenrecognized by our immune system, which then produce antibodies that will be preparedto fight the virus.

RNA cannot be incorporated into your DNA and neither can it alter it.

What about side effects?

(Information supplied by Dr Angela Hajimarkos)
As far as side effects, it is a well-known fact within the vaccine world that side effects usually show up in trials quickly after vaccination – while longer term effects are very rare. We are 12 months in from the first vaccinations in terms of the trials… so there isn’t anything to worry about on this front – little or no side effects have manifested in the over 1 billion people vaccinated so far (some 2 billion vaccinations have been administered world wide as at 7 June 2021) The blood clots that have caused great concern in some individuals post‐vaccination have been rare and have occurred in individuals with predisposed conditions that increase risk for thrombosis. The vaccines have continued with minimal exclusions.

How can we be sure the vaccine is safe when it was rushed through so quickly?

(Information supplied by Dr Angela Hajimarkos)
It is true that the 3 first vaccines produced (namely Pfizer/BionTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca) have been achieved in less than 10 months – where it usually takes a decade. But despite the speed, none of these trials have actually skipped any steps. All steps were run concurrently where vaccine trials are usually held up by long periods of inertia – waiting for funding, resources and permissions to come through.

I cannot help thinking that if that amount of funding had been invested in HIV research, a vaccine would also exist. Global effort and collaboration within the scientific community as well as the quest for the status of winning first place in the vaccine race has led to unprecedented development success. Covid-19 has devastated the global economy and it is these stakeholders who have a vested interest in ensuring its recovery.

Do masks cause bacterial pneumonia?

A review of the literature shows that masks do not cause bacterial pneumonia (see link to article regarding Spanish flu) and do not cause hypoxia or carbon monoxide poisoning. Masks do not decrease the immunity as immunity is derived from multiple aspects including the food taken in, the environment and genetics. Masks do not fully protect 100% the entry of viruses into our system and there are studies now showing that masks might be assisting with Covid-19 immunity.

What hand sanitizer is used on the campus?

Life Hand Sanitizer – 70% Ethanol, 1-5 % Glycerine – no known significant side effects.

What products are being used to clean classrooms, and are they child-safe?

Life “EARTHWISE”: Chlorine Dioxide based solution, Biocide, inorganic compound, biodegradable. Safe for both adults and children when used on surfaces.

Who is expected to wear a mask on the campus?

  • Playschool: students do not have to wear masks because the transmission risk in this age group is extremely low;
  • Pre-Primary: masks must be worn to and from the classrooms and encouraged within the Grade 000 and Grade 00 teaching spaces where some leniency may be granted;
  • In the rest of the school, the wearing of masks is mandatory and will be enforced.
  • All teachers will continue to practice social distancing and will wear masks or visors while teaching.

What is the alternative if a parent does not send their Pre-Primary / Playschool child to school due to their circumstances?

Children who have to remain at home for health reasons or because a family member’s health is compromised due to their comorbidities, will receive weekly activities to do at home and have online interaction with their English and Greek teachers.

What are the benefits of an internal rotational model?

  • All students will experience face-to-face learning in the day and only some of their lessons will be concurrent online learning in a supervised venue such as the George Bizos Hall. 
  • It is more efficient because existing smaller classes don’t need to be grouped into the rotation. For example, a student may be in a History lesson with 12 students and in a Mathematics class with 24 students. In this example only 2 students in the Mathematics class would need to be taught concurrently online to reduce class size, but no rotation is required for History. 

What are the negatives of an internal rotational model?

  • Extra movement and numbers of students on the property.
  • Supervision will be required by teachers during their preparation periods and will stretch our teachers further.

What are the negatives of an external (home based) rotational model?

  • Lack of sufficient supervision at home. 
  • Low levels of student motivation. 
  • Low teacher morale arising from abuse of the situation by parents and students who take the opportunity to stay at home and work online through concurrent teaching. 
  • Poor Wifi connectivity in some cases. 

Why online learning is not ideal in the Pre-Primary and Playschool

The way young children learn in the Pre-Primary and Playschool is very different to the children in rest of the school. They are active learners who need to engage with their environment and the people around them, learning through play and discovery. While we were able to provide online learning last year in the form of interactive presentations and activities to do each day, not being at school came at great cost to the children’s personal, social and emotional development. This area of development is vital and we would like to avoid compromising it for a second year. 

What should I do if my child or a family member wakes up with Covid-19 symptoms?

Your child must stay at home and the member of the household must get medical clearance before your child returns. A doctor’s note must accompany any child returning after being absent from school, either for the child or the family member who was displaying symptoms. On the first day of absence, parents are requested to inform the relevant Principal and relevant academic management. The child will not attend school or go online until the parents are given permission which will be decided by the senior management within the school. 

What do I do if a family member has come into close contact with a known case?

Your child must stay at home and quarantine for a period of 10 days. On the first day of absence, parents are requested to inform the relevant Principal and relevant academic management. Written communication from the person who is Covid-19-positive must be submitted with the application to continue with online learning. The personal identity of the Covid-19 person need not be revealed. The child will not attend school or go online until the parents are given permission which will be decided by the senior management within the school. 

Other adjustments to ensure that we mitigate the heightened risk of the second wave:

  • Digital thermometers have been purchased for all the Primary School teachers, who will now screen and record on our App within the classroom. In addition, a fast-reading scanning thermometer has been purchased and will be placed at the entrance for an additional pre-screening into the buildings – this to accommodate the natural delay that classroom screening creates. 
  • Perspex screens have been purchased and installed in numerous venues where students work adjacent to each other, as in the Foundation phase. 
  • Timetables have been adjusted. For example, in the High School, additional classes have been added to teachers’ loads, thereby splitting the classes into more groups and creating smaller classes. 
  • Additional extractor fans have been purchased and installed in venues where ventilation was of concern. 
  • In certain venues, fixed and loose units have been removed to increase floor capacity and spacing. 

Due to the benefits of face-to-face teaching and because we have adjusted our structures and are aware of the potential burnout of teachers running a significant-sized dual system, we have opted to minimize the concurrent online offering. The smaller the online group in concurrent teaching, the easier it becomes for the teacher. 

Online concurrent teaching will therefore only be granted to those who have specific valid medical reasons or who need to quarantine or where their attendance will place a direct family member at risk. Please note that concurrent teaching cannot work for the Pre-Primary and Playschool and therefore only limited online support can be provided at this level. 

In all cases parents who need their child to work from home will require either a doctor’s note stating that there is a co-morbidity or stating that their attendance at school will place a direct family member at risk because of their co-morbidities. All exemptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and application with supporting documentation must be emailed to the relevant school principal. 

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Click here to view the presentation by
Dr Angela Hajimarkos – June 2021

2021 Communication

2020 Communication