Greg Ball: From our Operations Manager
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for everyone and has impacted our lives in a way we could never have envisaged eighteen months ago.
The disruption to education and strong friendship bonds can never be underestimated; however, this presented an opportunity to demonstrate resilience and unity that we might not have otherwise experienced if we had not taken this journey together.
The way students and staff have supported each other has been nothing short of inspirational.
The onset of the pandemic meant a review of our daily operational procedures was essential, with numerous changes being employed to ensure that the health and safety of our staff and students managed and maintained, and not compromised.
As more information and data on Covid-19 was gathered, the resulting changes to Government guidance meant our approach to the developing pandemic had to be flexible and fluid enough to cope with those changes. Although sometimes it felt like we were walking into the unknown, we were able to navigate our way successfully through each challenge to minimise the risk of infection and ensure the School was safe to reopen at the start of the Autumn Term.
In preparation for the reopening of the School, additional handwash stations and hand sanitising units were installed in every building. An intensive sanitisation schedule was implemented, delivering regular disinfection of key touchpoints. Approved disinfectants, clinical surface wipes and hand sanitiser was made available in all classrooms, offices and other common areas. The minibuses also had a rigorous sanitising schedule put in place. These changes were challenging, but as usual, the Operations team were diligent and flexible to deliver these changes.
When students returned to school on Monday 8 March, we carried out mass lateral flow testing for students and I was extremely impressed with how well this went and how our girls played their part in making the mass testing an overwhelming success.
The way the girls handled themselves to administer the self-swabbing and registering their test results were testimony to their resilience and maturity.
I would also like to thank every team member who was involved with the testing programme. The logistical planning and the entire testing process were delivered in an exceptionally organised and relaxed way. The staff members assigned to this project were an absolute delight to work with.
Each one of us has had to make changes and adjustments to our daily lives and this has also been evident in the day to day running of school life at St Mary’s. Activities we once took for granted have been severely impacted; however, I have been extremely impressed with how the changes have been embraced by both students and staff.
The St Mary’s community should be very proud of the way we faced every challenge, and this should give us hope and confidence for the future as we begin to move into better times and a gradual return to normality.
Greg Ball, Operations Manager