6 May 2020

Things continue to slowly return to the new normal for us at school. This week, we have 88% of children attending school on site.  About 8% are learning from home, and the remainder have other, normal reasons for absence, mainly sickness.

Thank you everyone for continuing to be extra vigilant with sick children and erring on the side of caution by keeping them at home. We are continuing to send home anyone who appears unwell, to keep everyone safe and calm and can’t have anyone with a sniffle or cough on site at the moment.

Morning drop off continues to be very smooth, despite the increase in attendance this week. Older siblings are doing a fantastic job of walking in with younger ones and single children are coming in confidently and happily.  My two deputies and I monitor the three main entrances each morning and afternoon, and I encourage everyone to use those so that we can supervise children effectively.  The start of the day is quiet and calm for all on site.

I do still have over 20 children arriving before 8.30am – some as early as 8.10am, and it would be great if they could delay their arrival until after 8.30am.  As it stands, they have to sit quietly on the library seating on arrival, where I can see them.  OSH Club is always able to care for children whose parents have to leave early for work.

Pick up times mirror mornings, though there are a couple of things to mention: most children know which entrance to go to, but a few each day get confused as their arrangements alternate. I have noticed that pick up works best when the meeting place is specific and unchanging every afternoon – such as the silver box, or the mail box, or the bench.

The second thing relates to traffic – everyone is doing their best to follow the road rules, but please be extra vigilant for children ducking between cars.  For added safety, older siblings should ideally walk out with younger ones, and parent meeting points should be on the school side of the road so that young children are not required to cross the road without an adult.

Finally, you may have heard that around 80 public schools have been invited to participate in a WA Government and Telethon Kids Institute study to test for COVID-19 among school students and staff without symptoms. The research is part of DETECT: a larger study of particular groups in our community to determine the prevalence of COVID–19 in Western Australia.  Richmond was not invited to participate in this study, though some local schools are represented in the random sample.  I will follow the results with interest.

I hope schooling has gone well for you this week and that it has helped in some way to ease the load on families.  I am very conscious that for most of us it is far from business as usual.  We proceed with caution and care, and keep everyone in our thoughts.

Lisa Dentith