I am writing to you today to update you on what the past couple of weeks have looked like for us as a school. As you will be aware, a lot has happened in that time across the globe. But for the most part, it has been “business as usual” for us with teaching and learning as our primary focus.
However, in addition to this, over the past couple of weeks we have been working on developing a school Response Plan to the COVID-19 crisis, and following the directions of the Department of Education and Department of Health. Some actions we have taken have been:
- Strict cleanliness and personal hygiene measurements have been upgraded across all sites ensuring supplies of soap, hand sanitiser, paper towels and additional cleaning
- Reduction of shared experiences that pose risk of contamination eg. sharing of fruit platters, playdough etc
- Focused explicit teaching on washing hands
- Cancelling all non-essential school events. Some of these have included the following:
- Anzac Ceremony
- Support from volunteers
- Pre-service Occupational Therapy Students (Term 2)
- Board and P&C meetings
- Larger meetings
- School photos (Willagee site) – postponed to Term 4
- Swimming in Term 2
- Pre-service Occupational Therapy Students (Term 2)
Other events for Term 2 are under review at the moment and more details will follow as we get more direction.
Firstly, I would like to thank all the staff at our school for the dedication, care and commitment to ensuring the continued focus on teaching and learning in a time that is extremely challenging to them. While they are concerned for their own health and that of their families, they continue to ensure they keep things as normal as possible so that there is minimal impact on student health and wellbeing.
I would also like to thank you, as parents and carers, for the support you have given the school so far throughout the last few weeks. And thank you for ensuring your child stays at home if they are unwell. If you are choosing to keep your child at home due to concerns about COVID-19, please ensure you let us know as this will be recorded as a “reasonable absence”. Otherwise, it will be recorded as unauthorised. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Home Learning Packages and Distance Learning Resources
We are in very uncertain times at the moment, but our priority to ensure continuity for learning remains. However, this will look very different to what we are used to. Schools all over the country are now preparing for the possibility of schools needing to close, but despite this, teaching and learning will continue. As some of you may already be aware, teachers have been working on developing a home learning package. This is work for approximately 3 weeks for students to complete at home, targeting the areas of language, literacy and numeracy specific to the learning goals of your child. Teachers will give you this pack when it is completed. Please let your child’s teacher know if you are not returning to school this term and we will make arrangements to get this pack to you. It is likely that we will be having some pupil free days this term. This will give the schools the opportunity to work together to develop a more sustainable learning program should the school doors close. However, the message is that learning will still be open.
The Department of Education has also been working to provide online access to resources and advice for parents, carers, students and educators. This will be through the Learning at home website. The website is now available and resources will continue to be added over the coming weeks. It also includes a wide range of resources and information related to the impact of COVID-19 on students’ health and wellbeing and the impact on families. Please have a look through this great resource and let your child’s teacher know if you have any questions or need support.
As we move to preparing for possible distance education, I would urge all parents to download SeeSaw as this will be used as the primary means of communication for learning as we move forward. This can be used on a phone, iPad or computer and there is no cost to families. Please speak to your child’s teacher if you are unsure of what to do. It is an amazing resource that I know you will find extremely valuable over the next few months.
BYO water bottles
As per advice received from the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC), it is advised that students bring their own individual water bottles that can be filled from the water fountain as necessary. This will reduce the need for students to drink directly from the fountains. Thank you.
As you can imagine, social distancing at school is almost impossible. However, in an effort to support this as much as possible in minimising the numbers of people at our school, we ask that, if you are dropping your child off at school, that you leave them at the classroom door if at all possible. I realise this will be very unnatural, but it is a small change we can make that can minimise health risks. I thank you sincerely for your support in this.
IEP Review Meetings
Despite all our COVID-19 management and planning, school life continues. Currently we are in the process of having our school Individual Education Plan (IEP) Review meetings that involve teachers, speech pathologists and deputy principal/principal. This is where we meet to review each child’s IEPs and discuss each child in relation to strengths, challenges, concerns and possible actions required. When these are completed, your child’s teacher will be in touch with you to discuss your child’s IEP. This is likely to be over the phone, based on the current COVID-19 guidelines we are following. Please take up this opportunity as it will be very helpful as we work together over the next couple of months in a different learning space.
Thank you again for all your support. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or administration if you have any questions or concerns. I will continue to update you as we receive more information and guidelines over the next couple of weeks.