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Last week was been been punctuated by “will it? won‘t it?” assessments of the weather forecast to gauge whether we would actually have some snow in Waterloo. Having seen gorgeous photos of the nearby Ardennes cloaked in snow, I had hopes of the white stuff really making an appearance and on Thursday, we had some back-to-back flurries that gave just enough for the students to have some fun. Saturday afternoon brought a little more and we dug our sledge out from the garage, but by Sunday, the thaw was well underway. Let‘s hope for a little more snow before the winter is over!

The return to school after the Christmas break has been most welcome; in comparison with many other countries around Europe, we are fortunate to be able to remain open, albeit with certain year groups on rotation to reduce the overall numbers of students in school. It has been great to welcome everyone back and there is once again, so much happening in the classrooms and during remote learning. 

Back in November, I started my mammoth task of meeting individually with every student in Grade 10 to have a chat about their aspirations for the future; it has been lovely to hear how they are progressing. It has also been really interesting to hear how so many of them genuinely enjoy the remote learning experience, I think partly because of the autonomy it gives them, managing their time, workload and mealtimes in a way more akin to a university student. Many are also enjoying the additional time at home and working under the same roof as their parents. Indeed, looking back on 2020, one of the highlights was having those unexpected days with George during his final year of school, with break times in the garden, a quick round of our mini garden golf course or a game of badminton after lunch. 

Now in 2021, our next challenge on the Covid front is the new variants of the coronavirus; already in Belgium, we are confronted with the British variant. Having heard this morning of the school in Flanders that has had to close because a family decided not to quarantine on their return from a red zone, then tested positive for the virus, it is simple to see that the greatest danger to public health is selfishness. If we are to conquer this pandemic, we must be selfless, scrupulously honest and ready to make sacrifices. If we are selfish, the situation can only get worse.

For 2021, our sense of community and collective responsibility is immense. Together, we can do this. Together we are strong.

A happy and healthy new year to one and all!

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