"Savio College is not the actual building - it is the spirit within - the people and their love."

Ġiljan, Dec 2019

These words were said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by a student during the last Award Giving Ceremony theatre performance. Who would have thought that these same words were to be tested a few months later? In March 2020 our lives were shaken to the core and schools closed their doors and teachers and the administration tried hard to adapt to all the changes that the Coronavirus pandemic brought along.

Fast forward to the scholastic year 2021 and Savio College opened its doors for scholastic life on a daily basis. The domestic staff, the administration, the Salesian community and educators all adapted very effectively and efficiently to the pandemic situation in a short time. All the educators got online training on the use of Microsoft Teams as well as other changes, including, method of teaching in case students end up in quarantine as well as online home works and corrections to be there for students in a more efficient manner.

What one could immediately notice when entering Savio College were the health and safety protocols everyone started following, including temperature-taking, walking in an orderly manner following floor markings, standing in waiting areas according to the year group, different break times and entrances and exits keeping every year to its own bubble, hand sanitizers present in every classroom, distance between teachers’ area and students’ area and masks on at all times, except when eating/drinking. The domestic staff did and still do an excellent job at keeping everyone safe by their continuous cleaning of the school premises as well as the up keeping of the school premises. Their work has been top notch.

Keeping all of these protocols in mind, the school provided a sense of warm welcome anyway to students and educators alike. Whilst in different area bubbles it has been great to have all year groups present from Monday to Friday, as we truly believe that nothing can substitute face-to-face teaching and learning! Despite the changes and the lack of physical contact, the limitations due to the pandemic did not dampen the Salesian spirit. On the contrary, one could feel a sense of normality due to the team effort that everyone showed and is still showing in the face of such hard times. The staff, the educators and the Salesian community remained resilient and rose to the challenges that this pandemic brought along. For the school to remain a place of education, spirituality and also a place of refuge in these uncertain times, it has taken everyone’s effort, support and work.

Thus far in the scholastic year of 2021, there are particular warm scenarios that remain imprinted in mind such as: children playing and doing gardening activities not letting the masks bring them down, the school librarian reading and recording stories, an LSE walking around with her laptop to take her student virtually into a lesson as he was in quarantine, teachers phoning students stuck in quarantine to be present in class anyway, the familiar sight of Father Sacco fixing bikes and telling the boys the rules, a Salesian brother talking with a boy who was feeling blue, a couple of teachers supporting each other in break time, songs performed by students, a cup of hot chocolate with a colleague to fight the January cold and the computer experts coming to aid every time there were technical difficulties. One could also visit the beautiful chapel for some moments of serenity. Eco-Skola group, the walking club, the arts, IT, Savio Salesian Youth activities, gardening and sports kept students as well as educators occupied. All activities at Savio College are always combined with Don Bosco’s philosophy of loving and accompanying youths. The fact that even when working with students online, the educators tried to keep a healthy contact with their students made this year at Savio College feel like home once again, even against all the odds.

One thing is for sure. Living in the times of “please everyone mute till I explain” and “I can’t see the screen” as well as “sorry guys, internet problems” mingled with cats walking in front of the screen or dogs barking, siblings or young children bursting in during lessons, bedrooms and kitchens in background, amongst others, this Corona time has taught everyone the value of being patient with one another from the youngest to the oldest individual in the school.

"An hour of patience is more than a day of fasting."

Don Bosco

Ms Janine Caruana

English Language & Literature teacher