20 March 2020
From the Principal
It has been a tough fortnight, these are unprecedented times we are living in and the constantly changing environment reflected by the updates and directives provided by our state and national leaders demands an agile approach by all of us. Uncertainty potentially promotes anxiety so our focus continues to be providing enough information to keep parents informed without overloading people with information, and potentially adding to their anxiety.
Our leaders are very clear at the moment about school closures not being used as a pre-emptive measure to control the potential spread of COVID-19, so until that changes, it is business as usual (well as normal as it can be). We just really value maintaining as much normality for the children as we possibly can, outside the many precautions we need to make to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
We continue to have structures in place to ensure the children wash and sanitise their hands regularly, particularly around eating times and recess and lunchtime breaks. Thank you to all the parents who ensure children have their own drink bottles at school as opposed to drinking from the water fountains. We are reducing the number of children sitting together at the communal eating times by putting them in age groups in different undercover areas to eat. We are also observing the social distance wherever we can to limit the contact between children. Young children, by nature, invade each others’ space, but we continue to be vigilant in this area wherever we can.
List of Events Cancelled
Below is a current list of events we have cancelled, in line with the recommendations provided from the Health Department:
· Swimming Training
· Year 4 Harmony Week assembly on 20th March
· Year 6 Interschool cricket carnival on 20th March
· Fremantle Dockers skills sessions for Years 1 and 3 on 23rd March
· Year 1 Excursion to DFES on 24th March
· Parent Meeting for Confirmation candidates on 26th March
· Walk To School Day on 27th March
· Fremantle Dockers Gala Day for Year 1 and 3 on 1st April
· Parent-Teacher Interviews on 2nd April
· Colour Run on 3rd April
· Year 6 assembly 3rd April
· Holy Week liturgies in the final week of term
· Open Afternoon on 7th April
· Inter school Swimming carnival on 8th April
So, having said we are trying to keep things as normal as possible, clearly there are a range of gatherings that would normally take place that need to be cancelled. We are coming up with a different plan for serving the rice on Rice Day, in the current climate e.g. rice in individual containers given to the children etc. You will notice the Easter Egg raffle is not on the list of cancelled events, we will look at the potential to have it as a good finish to the term, maybe just at a class level instead of a whole school gathering that we have done in the past. We are also waiting for further updates before confirming that our sausage sizzle for Ray’s Retirement will go ahead as planned next Friday. I will need to confirm that early next week.
Attendance At School
I would like to start by acknowledging the parents who have taken a conservative approach towards keeping their children home from school if they are exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms, we need to remain vigilant in this area for the foreseeable future.
As far as attendance is concerned, we normally hover just above 95% across the school, in the past week it has been approximately 80%. If we break that down a little, this is reflective of some families taking a conservative approach with their children with the cold and flu symptoms. We could speculate that between the change in the weather in recent days and a recent camping trip has contributed to this, but we also have a small number of families choosing to self-isolate.
With those families choosing to self-isolate, we respect any reasons parents choose to take this action, but need to be clear on what we can and can’t do. Below is an extract I received late on Wednesday afternoon from our Executive Director regarding this:
Attendance at school (new information as at 18 March 2020)
Should parents choose to keep their child at home without seeking medical advice, it is not a requirement that schools provide curriculum work and activities. We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances where consideration will be given to provide support and resources where possible. The priority for staff is to maintain focus on classroom learning programs. In the event of a temporary school closure, schools are asked to enact their curriculum continuity plan.
Prior to seeing this notification, I met for an hour with the staff on Wednesday afternoon to ensure we, as a staff, have a common understanding of how we will manage these situations. We agreed that our priority at the moment needs to be on the delivery of the curriculum during normal school hours. However, we are also prepared to support families of children who choose to self-isolate by providing a “skeleton” of the learning opportunities provided in the classroom including: encouraging Reading Eggs, Mathletics etc which is on-line, text books can be sent home with specific instructions on which pages are being covered in class and electronic copies of any worksheets can also be made available. We need to be strategic with the text books, there is no point parents instructing children to just work through the text book because it will be used in the classroom in Terms 2, 3 and 4.
A far more defined plan is currently being developed in the event that we have a school closure, something that will be shared in more detail when/if the time comes. As you can see, from a teaching perspective there are a range of variables that we are currently managing so I ask for parents continued support as we work through these challenging times together.
Not As Many Buttons
You will notice the format of this edition of the newsletter is a little different with not as many buttons, particularly in my section. This was a request made via our P&F at the meeting last week. I will seek feedback in a month or so, to continue to refine what we are doing as far as methods of disseminating information to the broader community is concerned.
School Banking Cancelled
Please find a message below from the Commonwealth Bank, passed on via Emma and Maria, who facilitate the School banking in our community. Clearly, school banking has been put on hold in the short term too.
Notice from CommBank School Banking
The health, safety and well being of our communities and our people is our first priority. Due to the rapidly developing situation with coronavirus, School Banking has been temporarily paused from 20 March 2020 until the start of Term 2. Please don’t bring your deposit book with your weekly banking into school and we will notify you when banking will recommence.
World’s Greatest Shave
Four of our Year 6 boys recently took part in the World’s Greatest Shave. Last Monday a week ago, the boys shared their journey with the rest of the school and some of them gave an insight into how cancer had affected their own family. Between the four boys, with the support of their families, they raised $4375.64 which is a magnificent effort and a magnificent total. Congratulations to the boys and their families for the leadership in this area.
On-Line Lunch Orders
Following the continued trial of the on-line lunch order process, in consultation with the P&F at our last meeting and the local café owner who supplies the lunch orders, we will be moving to 2 opportunities each week, Mondays and Thursdays, for on-line ordering of lunches. I have also requested for the menu to be extended to include some healthier options. The opportunity to order twice a week, at this stage will begin in Term 2, given the uncertainty of things at the moment. We are also planning to have a whole school lunch available once a month where the café can provide a “pasta lunch” or something similar. I will continue to keep everyone informed as these changes occur.
Enrolments for 2021
It is that time of the year again where we start our planning for 2021 in relation to our Pre-Kindy and Kindy enrolments. If there is any families in the community who have a child turning 3 between 1st July 2020 and the 30th June 2021 and are interested in discussing the Pre-Kindy programme at our school, please complete the application form and we can book you in for an interview soon. I am also interviewing all families interested in a spot for Kindy 2021 over the next month or two. For our current Pre-Kindy cohort, in our planning for Kindy next year, a brief chat rather than a full scale interview is more appropriate, just to see how the child has settled into Pre-Kindy and how the family has transitioned into our school community. Please spread the word in the community about the enrolment interviews happening soon, to ensure parents have completed the correct paperwork to ensure they are part of our list for interviews.
A reminder that Ray will be retiring next Friday, apart from his role as our bus driver beyond his retirement. We are still hoping to celebrate the occasion with a whole school sausage sizzle for the children and a special cake for everyone to share too.
I have appointed a new gardener and maintenance man to take over the role, and am pleased to announce Josh Clements will be joining us as part of our team here at Our Lady of Fatima. Josh will begin here on Wednesday 25th March as part of the handover process before taking on the role on Monday 30th March.
Best wishes for the coming fortnight.
Dates to Remember
Wednesday 25th March
Rice Day (to be confirmed)
Friday 27th March
Whole School Lunch for Ray’s Retirement (to be confirmed)
Thursday 9th April
Easter Egg Raffle (at a class level)
Parents, thank you for your positive feedback regarding last fortnight’s cyber safety guide. This week focuses on Suggested Apps for learning to all age groups. I hope it is of some use.