Welcome back to Term 2 even if it is virtually at this stage! It was lovely to catch up with most of you on the last Friday of the break when the packs for the beginning of the term were collected.
The remote learning seems to have started well. I realise there were some issues with logins and passwords to begin with. Even as late as last Friday, some staff members were still having problems reaching their students, but on the whole the roll out of the new platform has been very successful with a very high percentage of students engaged throughout each day.
Our enrolment period for 2021 began on Monday. Again this looks very different from previous years with no ‘Catholic Schools Week’, no ‘Open Week’ and no tours of the school with our student leaders. We are hoping to open the school up for tours later in the year. The enrolment pack is on our website under the enrolment banner. If you know of anyone who has a Kindergarten aged child, please encourage them to come and see our beautiful school. We have had a bit of interest already in the first part of this week which is very encouraging.
Following decisions made by Catholic Education as well as liaisons with government authorities, all systemic Catholic schools in the ACT will formally transition students to return to face to face teaching from Monday May 18 (Term 2 Week 4) leading to full attendance of all students by Tuesday 2 June. Monday 1 June is a public holiday in the ACT for Reconciliation Day. School will remain open next week only for the children of essential workers. If your work circumstances have changed, please contact me personally by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
To keep consistency at St Bede’s, this transition period will be open to all students whose parents wish them to return to school on a full time basis. We will not use a staggered system as we are a small context and this could be problematic for us. Students will need to return to school in their winter uniform. Before and after school care will be available from May 18. If your child will not be returning on the return date, please let school know by Friday 15 May.
If you decide to keep your child home till the beginning of June, a modified remote learning program through Google classroom will continue to be uploaded so that all students remain engaged with their learning programs. More information and details will be provided to parents in the coming week, to ensure that all students and families are fully prepared and ready to transition back to school on Monday 18 May. Of course the community transmission rates may change at short notice and we will adapt our plans accordingly if this occurs.
The safe return to school does have some issues that we have spent time on addressing so that everyone can stay healthy. Please ensure that you thoroughly discuss the measures outlined below with your child/ren. They are based on the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines, which aim to establish, where reasonably possible, best practice in relation to health and hygiene at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are as follow:
- If your child is sick, they must not come to school. You must keep them at home and away from others. If a child displays symptoms of cold and fever, such as temperature, running nose, coughing or sore throat during the day, they will be considered unwell and you will be contacted to collect them.
- If your child, family members or other close contacts are tested for COVID-19, that child is not to attend school until the results of those tests are known and are negative. Please advise the school if this situation has occurred.
- If your child, family members or another close contact tests positive to COVID-19, all instructions and directions from ACT Health must be followed. This includes instructions and directions provided to the school regarding such an eventuality. Additionally, we would ensure that appropriate support is provided by the school to persons and families affected.
- Cleaning schedules have been increased and resources are available onsite during the school day to wipe down and disinfect high-touch areas, including classrooms, toilets and common spaces, in addition to regular daily cleaning.
- Students will be asked to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser after being outside. New soap dispensers have been installed in toilets as well as the drink trough near the infant’s toilets. Hand sanitiser is available in every classroom as well in the library and front office areas. Staff have supplies in the staffroom. Students must bring their own water bottle each day and may bring their own hand sanitiser to school
- Social distancing rules do not apply for child to child contact. However rules are very different for adults. Parents are not permitted to congregate in the school grounds for any reason. Children are to be dropped off in the morning straight from the car to the playground. Pick up in the afternoon will be similar with parents to signal to teacher on duty from the gate so that the teacher can then direct them to waiting parents.
- We will not assemble in the mornings as a large gathering until it is safe to do so. Children will move directly straight to class when the morning bell rings. Prayer, birthdays and messages will be over the PA system at 9.15 am.
- Students who arrive late or leave early for school on any particular day will still need to sign in/out. During the Covid-19 situation, the leave book will be on a table in the front foyer and school staff will complete the absence slips so that social distancing between parents and teachers can be adhered.
- The playground equipment will not be available for use at this stage. This is because it is an open playground open to the general public and would therefore have to be cleaned after each break. We hope that the playground will be open again by 1st June.
To conclude, I want to personally thank you for your ongoing support of our school. It is important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over. It is essential that everyone is fully committed to ensuring that they are practising the protocols outlined above, so that the return of students to school can be undertaken as safely as possible for all those involved. We promise to be vigilant and try to normalise the new ways of practising healthy and safe personal hygiene methods. All instructions and guidelines are designed to keep students, their teachers and the broader community free from Covid-19, as they continue to undertake their education and maximise their learning opportunities.
Whilst the arrival of Covid-19 has been a challenging time for all, it has also been a time of reflection. The transition back to school is going to be another time of readjustment. We need to do this slowly and calmly so that the children can re-settle quickly back into school routine. This routine will not be what they are used to for now but normality will return before we know it. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries concerning this matter.
Happy Mother’s Day this weekend to all our mums!
Have a lovely weekend