23 March 2020

Once again the weekend has seen a number of significant announcements that affect schools and parents.

The Prime Minister has directed that schools remain open, however parents have been given the opportunity to take their children out of school.  Understandably there is uncertainty among parents about the ‘right’ thing to do.

There is no handbook for this. What we do know is that we have to slow the speed of transmissions.

Social distancing is now our main challenge at school. Keeping 1.5m between primary school students both in classrooms and in the playground is not possible.  I have today visited every class and reiterated that we must all refrain from touching each other; we must spread out; we must not share any equipment etc.  Teachers have seated children at intervals as best they can.  However, as you all know as parents, saying ‘don’t touch’ does not guarantee they won’t touch.

My staff of course are charged with managing this.  They remain proactive in protecting students and I am very proud of them and their absolute dedication.

Today 184 children (44%) are absent from school.  This is increasingly because parents are practising social distancing.

Thank you for not sending any sick children to school. We have reached the point that if they seem at all sick, we have to send them home for everyone’s safety and peace of mind.

We continue to maintain all hygiene practices described in previous updates and we have enough cleaning supplies to get to the end of term, thanks to generous donations.

All planned events and activities have already been cancelled.  We no longer have any visitors on site, other than essential services.  Very few parents came into school today.

The P&C has today made the decision to close the canteen for the remainder of term.

So, education remains open, but we are already operating in different ways and will be maintaining education through a variety of means.  My information, received today, is that we are likely to go to distance education across the state. I do not know when this will happen.

We have been advised clearly by our Director General that teachers are not expected to deliver education in a classroom and concurrently provide at-home work packages.  Thank you so much for bearing with us during this ‘in between’ period where some of our students are here all day for face-to-face teaching and some are at home awaiting remote teaching. Teachers are honestly doing their absolute best to look after all of their students and are keeping many balls in the air.

The Education Department has started to load resources for parents onto their website under the learning at home tab.  This will grow over the coming weeks and I will provide more advice as it comes to hand.

With only 13 school days left this term, if your children are continuing to read, write, spell, do Mathletics and engage in positive activities such as board games, lego, cooking, art and music, or any combination of these things they will be academically ok.  Next term will become clearer as the national situation develops.

Stay safe everyone, thank you again for your constant support.

Lisa Dentith