Welcome to week 1 Term 2.
To say this has been an unusual week seems a massive understatement. Things are moving fast and in an unprecedented way. We have all needed to be flexible and responsive and make many adjustments to the way we are living our lives and delivering our work. For those of us who are fortunate to still have maintained our incomes, it is worth reflecting that many in our community have indeed lost their entire incomes. Our community has responded very positively to the concept of learning from home, and we are very pleased with the way our students and their families have made this transition and engaged in classes.
I have heard from a significant number of families about the successes we have experienced making the adjustment to remote learning. I have also heard about some challenges, and we are working hard to overcome these hurdles and to ensure we enable all students to maintain continuity of learning. I have heard how families who have maintained routines have been really successful with the transition. For example, still making lunches and putting them in lunch boxes and walking before school starts to simulate the walk to school experience are two examples of some smart ideas to assist students stay in the routine of school. That is why we have maintained the same bell times and timetable structure.
The College is aware that not all families have the resources to enable their children to access remote learning and as a result we are supporting a number of students with accessing technology. We have purchased a number of laptops and tablets and loaned them to students who have not been able to afford one. If you know of any families who are doing it really tough at the moment, who may not have let us know, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will see how we may be able to support them or link them with the appropriate support.
The College is open during this time. Our phones have been a bit problematic recently. We believe that these issues have been resolved however and the line has been diverted to ensure they are answered. Whilst we still hear mixed messages between State and Federal politicians, and community debate continues about remote learning, I would like to take this opportunity to restate our purpose here, as defined by the Premier. Our purpose is to be working to stop a global pandemic and in the words of the Premier, “all students who can learn from home must learn from home, all staff who can work from home must work from home.” There are 3 categories of students able to be onsite.
· children in out-of-home care.
· children deemed by Child Protection and/or Family Services to be at risk of harm.
· children identified by the school as vulnerable.
The College has employed a CRT staff member to supervise students onsite. Students who attend the College will participate in remote learning. Their experience is no different to that of the students who are learning from home. This means all of our staff are available to deliver remote learning. Each week families are able to apply to have their children supervised onsite, and this process is promoted via Compass.
Staff hours of work during this unusual time are 8:45 to 3:45 each day. While I am sure many of them communicate with students outside of these times, this has been an incredibly demanding time for our team. I am sure you would all acknowledge the wonderful way in which they have got remote learning going. Please be understanding that both students and staff are feeling fatigued at the end of a full day online. It is different to what we have been used to. Staff seem to draw the analogy that it is like having each student in class all put their hand up with a question at the same time, all lesson. I applaud all of you for the way you have made such a wonderful adjustment in unusual times, and been able to maintain continuity of learning. We are considering how best to adopt some voice conversations into classes, to complement what we are currently doing and we will keep our community informed of this.
Stay safe, stay strong and stay well,