12 May 2020

I am writing today to update you on how things are going at school this week and to project a little moving forwards.

Today Mark McGowan has announced a new case of COVID-19 overnight in WA. I would like to quote his words: While we’re doing well in the fight against this pandemic, the battle is far from over… it’s so important that we take a cautious approach to winding back restrictions.

This reflects my approach to our school.  We have created a calm, positive atmosphere where staff and students feel happy and relatively safe.  Our attendance rate is high compared to other schools.  I am in no rush to change our considered and steady approach or to take our eye off the ball.

Today we have 94% of children at school. 3% are learning at home and the remaining 3% are absent for other reasons, mainly colds.

Everyone is being vigilant regarding colds and sniffles and is keeping sick children at home. A 3% ‘sick’ absence rate is low for the normal start of winter, and I believe that our more stringent hygiene practices have played a part in this.  I plan to keep many of these practices – particularly in relation to hand hygiene and cleaning equipment –  in place permanently.

I have one teacher off sick with a cold, and the class also has the highest number of sick children absent. It is a reminder that it’s really important for anyone who is sick to stay at home, not only to avoid spreading colds to other children, but also importantly to avoid spreading to the teacher, whose absence affects the whole class.

Staff members have received a flu jab and many families are doing the same.

Our main procedures, which are ongoing at this stage, are: Children should not arrive on site before 8.30am; they have allocated eating and play areas at breaks based on year groups; hand sanitiser is in all rooms and is used regularly; hand washing is ongoing; no equipment or toys are allowed to be brought from home; school equipment is not shared and is cleaned regularly; our day cleaner cleans high touch surfaces during the day; sick children are sent home; and only our essential staff are permitted on site – no other adults, parents or non-Richmond students – to minimise contact with the wider community.

Mark McGowan has indicated that he will announce further decisions regarding schools this week.  I have no advance knowledge of what this will entail.  I will however write an update regarding his announcement in the context of Richmond, as information comes to hand.

Finally, the P&C is planning to have a general meeting for parents on Thursday 21 May at 7.30pm via ZOOM. If you would like to be sent a link to join the meeting, please email tony.estrano@gmail.com

Thank you everyone, for your continued, unwavering support. To the Richmond family who this week purchased and donated a coffee machine (and lots of pods) for the staff, we thank you! Amazing.

To room 2 parents who have kept the donations of hand sanitiser coming, thank you.

And to our staff, students and parents for bearing up so well to all the changes and making Richmond a very special place to be, at a terrible time for the world, I cannot thank you enough.

Lisa Dentith

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