23 May, 2020
Greetings to all of you as we prepare for our K-10 students to return to the College on Monday 25 May.
Firstly I want to extend my gratitude to all families for your outstanding support during this difficult time when we had the majority of our students (85- 90%) remaining at home in the last seven – eight weeks. I am also grateful to those families of essential workers who worked constantly in collaboration with us to ensure that their children, being supervised at school, were focused and motivated.
As we recommence fully on-site, we continue to ask our families to work in partnership with us in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of all in our community. To assist the College we ask that you carefully observe the following requirements that will implemented:
It is very important that you read these expectations that provide directions regarding drop off and pick up, avoiding entry into classrooms and the request not to congregate outside classrooms. They also cover the imperative to keep your child at home if and when they are unwell.
It is important that we restrict community access to the College. We are unable for example, to reinstate Parent Help or assistance programs in our K-6. Our Mama Margaret Kitchen Program which relies on such assistance has been temporarily discontinued.
Whilst we are privileged to have our students and staff fully back on site for face-to-face teaching and learning, the risks and dangers of COVID-19 continue. There are many student-based activities that are not yet permitted by our public health authorities and state government. These include assemblies, performances with audiences, excursions, inter-school sports, camps, masses, Launch into Learning etc. HPE classes will be conducted as normal.
There are also many measures we have needed to put in place to restrict and control group interactions and numbers in groups generally across the College.
We will continue to promote and be vigilant regarding students’ personal hygiene and the need for regular hand washing and coughing and sneezing protocols. A regime of classroom and playground equipment cleaning procedures will be in place and the management of library books on return. Students are asked to refrain from bringing unnecessary personal equipment or possessions to the College.
As you know, our regular one:one laptop program is confined to students in Years 5-10. Students in these year groups will continue to bring their devices to and from the College.
We have decided that K-4 students will return their iPads and laptops to their classrooms on Monday where they will be kept and used as one of a number of learning tools for the remainder of the year. Students and staff have particularly found the use of programs such as Seesaw and certain apps highly supportive of students reaching their goals.
It also enables us to quickly re-commence remote teaching and learning for all students, should this situation eventuate in the near future.
We are increasing our charging capacity in Years 1-2 through redistribution of our Year 6 in-class chargers. These students, with their reputation for excellent responsibility, will be asked to ensure their laptops are charged at home every night.
Parent-Teacher communications will continue to mostly be via phone, Microsoft Teams Meetings and email. We ask for your patience with teacher responses in particular. With remote teaching and learning, our education staff were more available to answer email far more quickly. A return to regular and full teaching and learning days will mean a return to our College expectation that teachers and learning support staff will respond to email within 48 hours of receipt unless it is an emergency.
Families can expect to receive student progress reports in the last week of this term. Our staff are highly committed to this and our scheduling of the student-free staff day, after the long weekend on Tuesday 9 June, provides us with the opportunity to moderate student work samples and prepare for comprehensive reporting. We greatly appreciate your family support of this framework. Vacation Care provided by the Dominic Early Learning Centre will be available on this day.
College Climate and Culture
Tragically, across the world people continue to die daily as a result of COVID-19. I’m sure that you’ll agree that this is not a time for frivolity and there needs to be a seriousness in the way we approach our health and safety expectations. We are all called to be quietly calm as we re-commence on-site, face-to-face teaching and learning at the College.
As students return, we need to ensure that we have shared high expectations of students, including their uniform and appearance standards. We are committed to quickly re-establishing daily routines and clear boundaries.
Our students - your children, deserve the highest praise. They have demonstrated outstanding flexibility, adaptability and resilience. They have been genuinely committed to being responsible learners and produced high quality work. Their good cheer and patience in understanding and accepting community restrictions has been quite extraordinary.
Many of our students have enjoyed the freedom and independence of working remotely and for some it will be challenging to return on-site. However, I hope that all of our students will find great pleasure in re-uniting with their friends and our staff.
The importance of community cohesion and unity continues to be foundational to our capacity to respond in the best possible way to this next phase of response to COVID-19. We call on God to guide us through this journey and daily pray for our students and you their families. God bless all of us at Dominic College in this endeavor.