Each week, as I give an update to the changes in COVID-19 safe school operations, it feels the reality of the virus is another step closer to directly impacting in the school. Just this week there have been a number of positive cases and locations pop-up in the Mandurah area and wider region, with some schools now coming onto the exposure site list. With this being the case, changes are continually being implemented into our school to promote the safety of the students, staff and parents who come onto the school site.
This week we see some additional changes to the operations of the school. These include:
· Staggered recess and lunch times for the students
· Zoned play areas for each Year level
· Staff reducing interactions onsite by working out dedicated cluster areas
· Moving all assemblies to an online event
· Limiting in school activities to single grade levels, including Specialist subjects, library, etc.
These new changes to the school program are not ideal, but the intention is to limit the impact of a positive COVID-19 case in the school, should one be identified. Students are very resilient and adaptable and can be tolerant to the new changes being made.
As we continue to prepare for the possible onset of COVID-19 caseloads in the school, I ask that you consider the following key points:
· Student birthdays: traditionally we have permitted parents to bring in a treat for their child’s class, such as muffins, to share amongst the students. Sharing of food is seen as a high risk, particularly if the food is prepared in the home by families. Commercially prepared, wrapped and unopened treats would only be permitted, which could be distributed by the classroom teacher, would be permitted to be shared amongst a class as a birthday treat, if necessary.
· Physical Distancing: whilst on the school site, maintaining the appropriate physical distancing measures is important for the safety of all adults. Whilst congregating outside classrooms at the beginning and end of each day, please consider how close we are all standing together, considering the risk to your own health and safety and that of others around you.
I have been truly grateful for the support and adherence all families have provided the school, particularly as the guidelines change on a continual basis. Our priority is to keep the safety and wellbeing of all students at the forefront of what we do. Please do not hesitate to contact me at school if you have any questions or concerns regarding the current COVID-19 safety guidelines being implemented.
As mentioned above, we have moved all assemblies to an online event, being shared into all the classrooms across the school. On Monday, we hosted our first morning assembly, via video conference. Being our first go at it in some time, there were a few areas for improvement, however overall, it went really well and is a great alternative.
This Friday 18 February, we host our first St Damien’s assembly, with student awards, including St Damien’s Awards and Principal Awards, being presented. Mr Hazebroek sent a message to all families via SEQTA regarding how these awards will be presented, which I ask you to read at your earliest convenience, to gain an understanding of how student awards will be shared with families.
Year 3-6 Swimming Trials
Today the students in Years 3 to 6 participated in the House Swimming Trials, at the Marc. All of the competing students are to be commended for their efforts and are now ready for the Inter-House Swimming Carnival, being held on Thursday 3 March.
As we prepare for the Inter-House carnival, it will not be run in the same format of previous years, due to COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions. The same swimming events will be held for the students to complete in, but the carnival will be staggered across the day. At this stage the Inter-House carnival is permitted to go ahead, but this will be reviewed closer to the date to ensure it is still safe to do so.
A decision at a recent Sports coordinator’s meeting was to postpone the planned Inter-School Swimming Carnival until term 4 of the school year. A confirmed date for this event will be corresponded to families, once set.
Congratulations to all of the Year 6 students who began the Sacrament of Confirmation program on Tuesday evening, by attending the Confirmation information session. I also thank the parents present for supporting their child and for assisting in the preparation for the Confirmation candidates in receiving this Sacrament.
Enrolment Masses are being held this weekend, at 6:00pm on Saturday evening and 8:30am on Sunday morning, for the Confirmation candidates and their parent(s) to attend. We wish them all the very best as they begin this very important sacramental preparation period.
School Advisory Council
This week we held our first School Advisory Council meeting for the year. With full representation on the Council, we are looking forward to an active and fulfilling year, planning and carrying out some capital projects across the school and assist in the operational and governance functioning of St Damien’s CPS.
Work continues to develop along Wickepin Parade, with the adjoining road to the school nearing completion in the coming weeks. Whilst there will be some minimal disruption to traffic flow as the road is sealed and curbed, it will be great once the projects has been completed and we can fully access the local streets to gain access and to depart the school.
Overall, the flow of traffic and the cautious approach taken by families, especially during pick-up times, has been very good. I thank you for your patience and care when driving around the school.
Over the past week some students have been sent to my office to receive a Principal’s Award for completing some exceptional work. I congratulate Luke Yarran and Zarli Parish, from Year 3 Gold for their great work in their Writing and to Tilly Chalwell, Isla Pike and Thomas Winder, from Year 1B, for their fantastic efforts in their Writing. Well done and keep up the great work!