Dear Old Cottonians,
I thought I would update you with news of life at school.
The best thing is that we have pupils back in school. Having ‘locked down’ last March, we were allowed to welcome back senior students from mid-February. There are now just over three hundred boys on the campus from Class VI to Class XII.
You can imagine this presents many challenges at the moment.
Indian Board exams have been put back by a couple of months so there has been an opportunity for the outgoing Class XII to enjoy some time together. The outgoing Class X arrive back this weekend. Necessity has meant that we are accommodating boys in Class ‘bubbles’. Boys of the same age eat, sleep, study and play together.
We are ensuring that there is regular testing of staff and a number of colleagues have already been vaccinated. I am getting my first jab on the 1st April.
The ‘’outgoing’ and ‘new’ Class XII are together in Curzon. The ‘new’ Class X are moving to Lefroy and the outgoing Class X will be in Rivaz. Classes VI to IX are in separate dormitories in the Junior School. It will be some time before the ‘House system’ can return to normal and different classes can share dorms.
The boys had to present a negative pcr test when they returned to school. They have to wear masks around the school site and avoid mixing with other classes. Their interaction with adults has to be strictly controlled. However, it is evident that they are mostly very happy to be back at school. The spring weather in Shimla has been beautiful and the boys have enjoyed lots of sport and activity. We have been trying to update photos regularly on our ‘Facebook’ page.
The current rise in Covid cases in India means that we will continue to face challenges. The Himachal Government whilst restricting the opening of many educational institutes, are currently allowing Boarding schools to keep their students at school. We are working with both them and the medical authorities to ensure we can keep things running smoothly. I think there is an overwhelming case for the benefits outweighing the disadvantages of residential students being back in school in the pandemic. It was noticeable how much weight many of our pupils had put on during their year away from school and it is pleasing how quickly they are embracing a healthier lifestyle.
We have welcomed many OCs back to the campus over the last year, but it is difficult at the moment to meet these requests as we must try our best to reduce unnecessary entry into the campus. Please bear with us in the next few months as we love to welcome alumni back to school.
Simon Weale – Director