Over the coming days our teachers are working hard on changing our curriculum so we can operate in the trying circumstances that are ahead. Based on current information being received by us, it appears the Commonwealth Government is keen for schools to be open as long as possible. From the start of Term Two it is possible we will be instructed to open our doors for students as normal. However, we know that some parents won’t want their children coming to school. So we have to cater for a situation where we have students here and students at home. We also can see the possibility of there being a time when we have to cater to students at home only. All of these sorts of decisions are still a long way off in the future, in a world where things are changing rapidly day-by-day. But we are having to prepare for the possibilities, which is what our staff are doing at the moment.
We have some important notices for you at this time:
School Work – From today, all students should have work to complete from their teachers. In Primary this includes the packs we sent home last week. In Secondary, teachers are sending out Weekly Planners. These emails are going to parent email accounts and (in the case of our Secondary students) to the student’s school gmail account. The expectation over the next eight days is that students will be working. Students should not be moving about the Community at this critical juncture in time. We encourage parents to speak with children about these expectations. We encourage you to regularly check emails please.
School Attendance – For this eight day period, the expectation is that students will be working at home on school work. As such, students will be marked ‘present’ for the purposes of school attendance. If students are sick over this period of time, or there is a family issue interrupting their studies, we ask that parents communicate that their children are ‘sick’ and unable to complete work at this time. This needs to be done by contacting the Office before 10:00am on any day.
Assessment – School has to continue in some way, shape or form. As a result, assessment is incredibly important. Teachers are asking students to complete work over the coming days. Assessments will be provided. We need these assessments done and returned to us in due course. We will provide you with more information on how we see this working. We may need parents or students or friends to come into school to collect and drop off work. More information on this will be provided once we see the information released by the National Cabinet later in the week. We will also need to ask Secondary students in Years 7-10 to come in to complete assessments at different points in the coming days, weeks and months.
VCE Students – Tomorrow (Thursday 26th March 2020) we are running a MANDATORY day for our VCE students (ie Year 11 AND 12 – full school uniform). Tomorrow is about touching base with them. At the moment, the VCAA rules are explicit. Major Outcomes must, generally, be assessed in the presence of a teacher to ensure the student’s work is their own. Next week we hope to be scheduling assessments for some of our VCE students so we can continue to assess work. More on this by Friday (once we assess the information released by the National Cabinet on Friday). Tomorrow’s attendance by VCE students will be very controlled. We will not allow gatherings. We will be shutting down students socialising with each other. This is something we must do at this point in time. Students are allowed to attend school at the moment, but we have very tight guidelines on how this can occur and we intend to follow the guidelines.
School drop off and pickup – When we do ask students to come into the school, we ask that parents observe the following protocols.
For drop off, parents stay in their cars in the drop off zone – or wait in a queue along the road way until they can get to the drop off zone – and drop off their children when they are at the drop off zone.
For pick up, parents stay in their car and line up to enter the queue for the school pickup zone. Students get in and everyone in the car then leaves.
Parents and other children should not get out of the vehicle or leave the vehicle please. We do not gather to say hello to friends etc. Under no circumstances do we want to see people gathering to talk or children getting out of cars and playing in school grounds. Our public toilets are not open to family, friends etc until further notice. If you need to talk with a staff member, please call the school to arrange a time.
If you or your child become sick with COVID-19 – You are required to let us know if anyone associated with the College has become ill with COVID-19. We are then required to enact our Emergency Procedures which will include communication with our School Community.
Picking up and dropping off work – As this situation develops, we may be forced to leave work out for parents to pick up and ask for work to be dropped off. As it develops we have plans to ensure our staff and students and parents are protected – for example, because COVID-19 is said to survive for no more than 48 hours on surfaces, staff will not correct work received for 72 hours. Packs given to parents will not have been handled by staff for 72 hours before giving them out. We will give you more information on this in the near future.
If you need to come to school at this time – If a parent cannot have their child/ren at school for any reason over the next eight days, the children are allowed to come to school. As Prime Minister Morrison said last night, every job is critical. We acknowledge this. If you need your child/ren to come to school, please let us know BY THE AFTERNOON BEFORE. If for any reason, parents need to come to school, we ask that you ring ahead and wait outside the Office doors until acknowledged. Just to repeat, our toilets are not open to family, friends etc until further notice. At the moment our staff are working on their own in different locations throughout the school. We are limiting our interactions significantly. As a society we are trying to limit the spread of the virus while trying to maintain some semblance of ‘normality’. We ask that you comply with the Government’s wishes and limit interactions with anyone from the school as much as possible.
School Holidays – At this point in time our intention is to have our holidays start on the 4th April 2020. Until then we are asking our students to work from home (or are calling them in as per the next communication). If this changes, we will let our parents know immediately. The situation at the moment is changing day-by-day. We ask for your patience with us. We are endeavouring to communicate as often as we can so you know what is happening.
St Thomas Aquinas College acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri people. We recognise their continued connection to the land and waters of this beautiful place created by Almighty God and respectfully pray for their elders past, present and emerging as custodians of His bountiful creation.