Dear Parents / Carers,
The pandemic has been a once in a lifetime event. There hasn’t been anything like this since 1918. We have been living through a moment in history. Our youngest students are coming back to school next week on Tuesday 26 May. Our students in years 3-6 will come back onsite on Tuesday 9 June.
Our teachers have done an amazing job with delivering the transition to remote flexible learning and supporting their students and their families. This week all our teachers have spent their professional practice days preparing for the return of our students. Our teachers are ready to do the transition back to school, which is about getting back to normal schooling and supporting them to reflect on their experiences and reconnect with their peers. Our teachers have proved that they can be trusted to do whatever it takes to support our students.
We have all been changed by this experience. The change in pace has given us time to reflect on what is important. As a school, we have had to design a remote learning curriculum that picks up what is essential. I would like to acknowledge the support that our parents have given to our children over this period.
The curve has flattened and the Chief Medical Officer has declared that schools are safe for students to return to onsite schooling. It is important that children understand that to keep everyone safe there are now certain rules that we have to follow. Students must drink from their water bottle and not the taps. However, they can fill up their bottles at the taps. Students will be washing their hands many times during the day with soap and water.
I have posted a return to school guide for parents on COMPASS. The reason we have designated pick up areas is so that parents do not enter the school building. Some parents have established pick up routines where children meet them either outside the school grounds or at the car. Parents are encouraged to continue these routines so that we can limit the number of adults in the playground.
When I first began as Principal, twenty five years ago, permanent school cleaners were replaced by contract cleaners. Over the years I have witnessed the gradual decrease of cleaning hours in schools. One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been that schools have never been cleaner! The government response to providing a safe environment for students and staff has been to fund ongoing cleaning throughout the school day. Table tops, high touch areas, glass areas, playground equipment and toilets are being cleaned continually throughout the school day.
We have worked hard while our students have been away to paint and refurbish parts of our school. We have also planted over one hundred and sixty plants as well as mulched our gardens so that our school environment is as welcoming as possible.
Parents may be anxious about their child returning back to school. Children will pick up emotions from the adults in their lives. Acknowledge your own feelings of anxiety but remember we have put precautions in place to keep everyone safe. Also schools are predictable places. There are routines, expectations and rituals that bring a sense of normality back to everyone’s lives. In fact, there are examples from around the world where schools have played a valuable role in restoring normality to lives after all kinds of big events.
Parents have a valuable role in preparing for the transition back to school in the same way as they do at the start of a school year. Ensuring that your child has a good night’s sleep and that they have a healthy lunch and snack will set them up for success. Let’s support our children to emerge from this experience stronger and more resilient.