We are undoubtedly experiencing interesting times and we thank you for your unwavering support and positive messages relating to our handling of the coronavirus situation. We continue to be impressed with the resilience and understanding of our student, staff and extended community, and have been encouraged by the strong student attendance level across the College. Classes continue to take place with a joy of learning and care of one another at their heart.
In times of uncertainty it is important to remain calm and listen to the facts that are presented. The College leadership team is responding to updates and ensuring that all decisions are well informed, based on expert advice from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and have the health and wellbeing of our staff, students and extended community as the driving factor.
The current situation remains that the government, backed by the Victorian Chief Health Officer, advises that schools are considered low risk, and should remain open. We acknowledge that a small number of independent schools have decided to move to online learning models, before being officially mandated to. It is important to note that the majority of state and independent schools in Victoria are still delivering classroom based learning to students.
With these facts at hand our current plans are to continue to provide on-campus learning, at school, until the end of Term 1 for our ELC and Junior School students, and our Year 10-12 students. We will continue to deliver the usual curriculum while also focusing on upskilling our staff and students with the tools and practices they may need to use in the event a move to home-based learning is mandated.
To further refine our delivery of home-based learning we will take the opportunity to test our systems and processes with a small section of the student cohort. Accordingly Year 7 through to Year 9 students will be based at home, from next Monday 23 to Friday 27 March. To allow staff to finish training and compiling their resources there will be no lessons delivered on Monday 23 March for Year 7 – 9 students. From Tuesday 24 March Year 7 – 9 students will move to a home-based curriculum model until the end of Term 1.
In summary this means
- ELC and Junior School (Prep –Year 6) – classes continue at school
- Year 7 – 9 – Last day physically at the College this Friday 20 March. Home-based learning from Tuesday 24 March to Friday 27 March
- Year 10 – 12 – classes continue at school
This will allow for a coordinated roll out of online learning tools, with review mechanisms and refinement opportunities built into the four day remote learning program for Year 7-9 students. Our home-based learning model will continue to be developed in collaboration with a number of other schools within the independent education sector, allowing us to both learn and provide guidance to others within this new learning paradigm.
Further advice to students and families regarding training and guidelines to support remote learning will be shared in the coming days. The advantages of this approach are a calm, measured and planned roll-out, limited disruption to students and staff who are heading into end of term assessment periods, and a continued focus on providing as much normality as possible.
We recognise that some families may elect to keep their ELC and Junior School, or Year 10-12 children at home as a precautionary measure, and ask that you continue to advise of absences using the established methods.
At this point in time, staff will remain on campus with our overarching imperative to continue delivering robust learning opportunities in a caring and respectful environment, while still being incredibly conscious of the social, economic and emotional impact of this developing situation.
We believe the measures we are taking are considered, professional and provide a responsive plan that puts our students, staff and families in the best position to manage what is a rapidly changing environment.
Simon Le Plastrier