Dear Students, Teachers, Parents and Well Wishers,
Hope you are keeping well and safe in this testing time of floods, a potential 4th Covid-19 wave and certain other challenges in the country currently. Like I always state it is very important to remain positive despite all these barriers.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining and for us at Wycherley International School, Gampaha we have found a rainbow in the month of November. That is because this month we were able to celebrate “Deepavali” and also recommence classes physically for our O/L and A/L students under government guidelines and health regulations.
“Deepavali”, is known as the festival of lights and is celebrated in Sri Lanka as a public holiday this year on Thursday, 4th November 2021. Deepavali or Diwali is an ancient festival celebrated annually by Hindus, in autumn every year. It signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. Homes are cleaned, renovated and decorated before the festival begins, and on the night of Diwali, Hindu devotees dress up in new clothes or the best garments they possess. Rangoli or Kolam designs are made in the living room or shrine room. A family meal follows the pooja which is a feast of traditional sweetmeats. One can see colourful fireworks light up the night sky and illuminate each neighbourhood. The exchange of gifts between family members, relatives and close friends is another important part of the day’s celebrations.
There are several legends connected to Hinduism which are believed to be the reason behind Diwali celebrations. These tales have been passed down through generations of Hindus and are narrated to little children even today as part of the festival’s traditions. The message to take from Deepavali is that no matter how difficult, good overcomes evil in the end and light overcomes darkness somehow. So always be good and do good no matter what! Evil and darkness will always be there! Sometimes evil will be more attractive and beneficial to you in the short-term. But doing good will always be the right thing to do and you will do well by doing good in this world and beyond! I am extremely glad that our students got to celebrate it and learn its values this year!
School, as you know has already physically started on the 8th of November 2021, for Montessori section, UKG, Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 as well. As we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, going to school in person is how children and teens learn best. Many students also get vital resources they need to thrive at school. Now, even more students are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines. When more kids are fully vaccinated, it means they are at a lower risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19. This means less time away from learning and more time for sports, friendships and activities.
Making sure that all eligible children and adults get the COVID-19 vaccine is one part. To help everyone stay healthy, the whole school community should keep wearing a face mask, maintain physical distancing, wash hands and stay home when sick. These steps are even better when combined with good ventilation, screening, and contact tracing in a school community.
We would also like to remind students to sanitize hands regularly, not share food, water, drinks, stationery with others as that can increase risks of transmission, stay mentally positive as mind’s happiness improves physical immunity, take Vitamins and Minerals, eat and drink healthy food and natural drinks, not engage in non-priority travels such as leisure trips to hotels at this point of time until the country is normal, exercise at home at least 20 minutes and stay fit and not touch your eyes, mouth and face!
If you do all of the above before and eventually coming to school in-person, schooling in our country can continue without closures. The benefits of in-person school are much greater than the risks in almost every way! Schools are safe, stimulating, and enriching places to be while parents or guardians are working. Children and adolescents receive more than just academics. They also learn social and emotional skills, get exercise, and have access to mental health and other support services.
Remember, families, schools, and communities can work together to help ensure students can safely remain physically together in school, where they need to be. When everyone does their part, the whole community wins.
Please do your part to help schools to re-open and remain re-opened!
Further, we are delighted that the new computer labs and smart boards are now available for teaching and learning by end of November 2021! Happy learning dear students! The world is now in your hands!
Thank you to each of you for your continued support! Stay safe and hopeful as always!
Mr. Malith Kumarasinghe (MBA[UK], BA (Hons [UK])
Wycherley International School, Gampaha