COVID-19 Update 3pm 20 March 2020

Dear parents and caregivers

I know today is normally a newsletter day, but unfortunately the newsletter is a casualty of the relentless focus on COVID-19. I trust that you understand this! Please be assured that fabulous things are still happening in each and every classroom – we just don’t have the time to report on them at present.

Thank you for the lovely messages of support and gratitude that you have been sending our staff. In such unsettling times, to know that we are a part of such a caring community and not alone, keeps us going. Thank you also for the generous donations of hand soap and sanitisers, which I know are a valuable commodity in each and every household right now.

We are continuing to take measures to keep our students and staff safe. Further to restrictions outlined in the last update, we have also cancelled all university and TAFE prac student placements in order to limit people onsite. Our cleaners are also undertaking more comprehensive cleans each day, using suggested guidelines from the Department. We acknowledge them and their hard work in what is an often thankless task.

Today we had notification that NAPLAN 2020 will be cancelled to assist us in focusing on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education. There was also the concern that the COVID-19 virus may affect the delivery of NAPLAN testing, including the operation of centralised marking centres and the implications for nationally comparable data if an insufficient number of students are available to do the test.

As mentioned on Friday, our staff will provide limited activities, websites, apps and materials to support learning at home, should your family be self-isolating. It is important to note that these are not detailed lesson plans or indicative of classroom learning. As of Monday, a week’s worth of suggested activities will be posted in your child’s Connect class or year group. Please note that staff will not be emailing out work packages, providing individual student work, or additional work when it’s completed. I know that you will understand that with students still in class, they will not have time to respond to multiple emails about working from home. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of my teachers, EAs and front office staff in making this happen. Everyone has rallied around to prepare this. I am grateful for their professionalism, their compassion and sense of moral purpose.

It was announced today that the Department of Education is making preparations for continuity of teaching and learning in the event of a significant disruption to student learning, including the potential for a temporary school closure. To support schools, curriculum resources will be available on a public website as of Monday 23 March. This will be available for both staff and parents to use. As soon as I am aware of its availability, I will let you know.

In speaking to many of you, I know there are some fantastic support networks out there. If you are not linked in to one, the City of Fremantle has launched its Neighbour to Neighbour project. It is designed to support communities at high risk of being impacted by the threats of COVID-19, including seniors, people with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and Indigenous people. Local residents can sign up and volunteer to help vulnerable people in their community with simple errands, including grocery shopping, dog walking, posting mail or simply checking in with a friendly phone call. More information and registration is available at: https://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/news-and-media/city-launches-neighbour-neighbour-project

A reminder that we will continue to send home students who present as unwell. Students or caregivers cannot attend school if they meet any of the following criteria:

a) returned from overseas travel, they must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of return to Australia;

b) been informed by public health authorities that they have been in close contact with a confirmed case and they must isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case;

c) been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results should follow the advice of the Department of Health and stay away from school.

I will continue to update you as information comes to hand. Please take care and look after each other.

Kirsten