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06.09.20 – Darrell Priestley

NMA is hurtling straight like an arrow toward opening later this very month! It’s so exiting. But what have we been up to, I hear you ask? If only you knew!

It’s been quite some time since Eileen and I had a day off of any decription. How long, I don’t recall, (though it was four weeks on Saturday since I last had time for a bike ride), but since my last teaching day, nine days ago now, we have been working for many hours every day making intense preparations. The biggest single job, and the one you would be hard pressed indeed not to notice, was redecorating the cavernous nma hall, stairs and landings that you pass though every week when you attend. In twenty six years at the current location, it is the first time we have tackled this daunting task ourselves, but thankfully all the really big challenges (recall the ceiling heights around the stair wells?) are behind us now.

A number of safety screens have been sourced and ordered, which together with other safety measures should be in place before students set foot back inside the building later this month.

From Monday 7th Septemeber, lessons will be moving into a transition phase, and the timetable is being rebuilt in a flexible way that will allow students to take their lessons either at the Academy, or remotely if preferred or on occasions when needing to isolate.

Throughout the last nine days we have been variously tired, hungry, and at times even quite exhausted. Some evenings when we got home, we briefly zombied through the kitchen and then shuffled straight to bed, but the results speak for themselves, and now we are eagerly charging toward the finishing line.

Next task, to write the guidance for returning students. Covid zero won’t achieve itself, and as a community we will do our bit to bring it about by diligently working together. I raise a virtual glass to all our fine students and their wonderful families. I am also keen to see our fellow teachers again in person; Teams, Zoom, Skype and the telephone are ok, but never quite the same.

Keep watching this space for updates – something a lot like normal business (only better) will resume shortly.