- Principal's Report
- RE Week 7 - Be still and know that I am God
- Upcoming Events
- Harmony Day
- Support for Remote Learning
- Notes Home this Week
- Library News
- Canteen News
- NAPLAN Online Testing
- Parenting Ideas - Leading the way for children during Coronavirus pandemic
- TeamKids Newsletter Week 8
- 3/4KE photo
- Basketball Clinic photos
- Cleanliness at School
- Student Achievement
- Dance Edge flyer
What an unpreceded time we are experiencing in Australia and of course, across the world. The media and social media coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic has been at a level that we haven't seen before. Whilst this virus is of concern, the coverage has on many occasions, been quite distressing. Children will ask questions that are hard to answer but my advice, is to be open and honest to help ease anxiety and worries. You are the most trusted person in their lives. Help them to be critical of what they hear or read and provide age appropriate facts. Allowing children to watch or listen to the news at present, should be done so with caution. It is important that parents are taking the time to discuss what is happening in Australia and around the world with their children. This is not a role that should be deferred to a teacher at school. It is much easier to talk one-on-one with a child about these bigger issues, than what it is to talk to 25 students in class, all with different levels of understanding, experiences and questions. You know your child best, so this is best to come from you in the first instance.
You may have seen the Prime Ministers address yesterday assuring the people of Australia that our schools staying open is the right thing to do. At St Thomas’ we are going along as “Business As Usual’ albeit without excursions, events or assemblies. In some ways, there is a sense of peace and calm across the school as teachers and students go about their day with teaching and learning with very few interruptions.
Whilst there are no plans to close schools across the country, we are making preparations behind the scenes in case this does happen. In the unlikely case of the school closing, we will move to a remote teaching model. How that will look is something we, in conjunction with the Catholic Education Office, are developing. Teachers are busy preparing packs to go home with activities and information as well as passwords and instructions on accessing online platforms. Information will be sent to all families once we have it very clear on all the details. You will have received a Szapp survey today regarding devices for online access. This is also in the newsletter.
As stated previously, we have many measures in place across the school to make the school environment as safe as possible. We are being hyper vigilant in terms of sending students home should they present with any cold and flu-like symptoms.
If your child is not well in the morning, please do not send them to school. We are also regularly reminding our students about good hygienic practices, especially thorough hand washing with soap and coughing/sneezing etiquette to help prevent the spread of germs. I ask parents to reinforce these messages at home and to spend time practising thorough hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds each time and practising how to cough/sneeze to minimise the spread of germs as per the two attached posters.
Whilst we have had to cancel all of our upcoming events, please be assured that the day-to-day teaching and learning is still occurring. Awards will still be happening but will be presented to students by myself in classes. Our teachers and school staff at St Thomas the Apostle are doing a sterling job as they continue to provide a high level of care and support to your children. You can be assured that they are absolutely committed to teaching students during this time of significant community concern, public health challenges while having to implement tough policies and processes. I sincerely appreciate what they are doing and what you, our parents and carers are doing as well.
Parent Teacher Interviews
As this in an event where there are many people in the school at one time, the directive from Catholic Education is that these interviews be postponed until later in the year. If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s teacher via email to organise a phone interview. Teachers will also contact parents if they want to talk with them about their child.
Even though we have postponed Grandparents Day until later in the year, we will still celebrate Harmony Day at school tomorrow. Children (and staff) are invited to wear outfits and costumes that represent their family’s country of origin. Alternatively, everyone is encouraged to wear something ‘orange’ to mark the day. Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. We can wear something orange to show support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.
Good luck Mrs Pank
Today was the last day of school for Mrs Pank as she leaves us to go on maternity leave. We wish Natasha all our love and best wishes and look forward to hearing the news of when her baby is born (due in April)! Mrs Judy Egan will be teaching the class (Thursday and Friday) for the rest of the year in partnership with Mrs Tarthra Kennelly.
System Leader's Day and Principal's Retreat
In Week 5, I travelled to Bowral to attend the annual Catholic Education System Leaders’ Day, which was dedicated to improving student outcomes through the development of Catholic Educations 'Learning Agenda.' There were four areas where we were engaged in professional discussions (Curriculum, Instructional Leadership and Literacy and Numeracy in the early years). These workshops enabled me to contribute, on our school’s behalf, to the shared directions across Catholic Education in our Archdiocese.
This was followed on Thursday and Friday by the annual Archdiocesan Principals’ retreat, which was led by Professor Br David Hall. The retreat theme was ‘Beacons of hope: purpose and possibilities for Catholic schools.’ A timely topic in these uncertain times. For me personally, it provided space to reflect on the call for all Christians to be beacons of hope light in our world. We certainly are and need to be, people of hope!
Once again, I would like to thank you for your support and consideration as we take each day, one at a time.
May God bless you and your families,
The events of Holy Week will be celebrated in classes as opposed to our usual whole school re-enactment.
While life looks a little different at the moment, our faith continues to provide us with a sense of hope. We are loved by God. This time will pass. We each simply need to look with compassion on the world and shine God’s light of love for all to see.
Archdiocese Response to COVID-19
The Parish has received an update from the Archdiocese regarding protocols to accommodate our current situation. The following will be implemented;
- All Sacramental Programs will be postponed until further notice.
- No Holy water will be available.
- Families are asked to sit 1.5m from the next family at Mass
- Mass will be held as usual but only 100 people will be inside the church. Chairs will be set up outside for the remaining parishioners. Mass can still be heard and seen from this area.
- Collections will take place before and after Mass.
- Parishioners will pray for peace at the sign of peace instead of shaking hands.
We are so blessed that we are still able to celebrate Mass in our beautiful church. We will advise parents as soon as possible regarding the Sacramental Programs.
Students are invited to wear clothing that represents their family cultural heritage,
or they can wear an orange t-shirt, socks, ribbons etc to acknowledge the day.
Please also remember to bring a donation for our partner school in Kenya.
Please note: Grandparents/Grandfriends Day is POSTPONED until the spring time.
In the unlikey event that the school closes for an extended period of time, we will be moving to remote learning.
If you have a laptop/ipad/tablet that your child can use, then we request that they would do so as we do not have enough to supply every child with a loaned device. In the case of remote learning we plan that every child has a device that they can use.
Please indicate in the following short survey if you will/will not require a school loaned device.
The canteen complies with many cleaning and sanitising procedures on a daily basis, to ensure a hygienic and food safe environment for service. However, as of this week the canteen has put extra precautionary measures in place in a continued effort to make sure our community is as safe as possible.
- Sanitising the class lunch tubs before food is packed into orders.
- Sanitising the service window before and after recess and lunch.
- Increasing our already strict hand washing regime, even with the use of gloves.
- Ensuring all helpers are wearing gloves during service times and whilst handling/preparing food.
- Gloves do not replace handwashing, they are removed when necessary, handwashing occurs and a new pair is used for clean hands.
- Ensuring all helpers are designated a particular role, either cash handling or food handling, but never both at the same time.
- Asking the children to wash their hands before they visit the canteen.
- The ticket system has been temporarily removed.
- As the tickets are used in high volumes, kept and re-used and passed between many hands, they will be incredibly difficult to sanitise after each individual use.
- For the time being, the children will simply return to the canteen with their brown lunch paper bag to claim the items that are listed on them.
- Lunch bags with cash money sent inside them will not be the same bag that food is served in. Each order will have a new bag used for food.
At this stage I will continue to do my best to supply a regular service, however, some adjustments may need to be made on the day your child orders from the canteen. As many of you are aware, there may be some items that have quantity restrictions placed upon them, and this applies for the canteen stock also. And, in some cases, I will not be made aware until a delivery arrives that an item is unavailable.
Please note also that recess orders are able to be placed via Flexischools.
As a school community, we will work together to provide a suitable substitute, should the need arise.
I will endeavour to update you of any major changes as and if the need should arise.
Thank you for your support,