Dear Parents and Caregivers,
In the coming days, I have been advised that schools across our State will be faced with increased COVID-19 restrictions. Yesterday, many of you will have seen the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, foreshadowing harsher restrictions as concern about community transmission grows. The sudden increase in cases in one school in Sydney's north-west and the growing number of schools in NSW that are closing for cleaning, are providing complex challenges for NSW Health and government authorities.
Since returning to full time face to face teaching in May, schools have been asked to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Physical distancing was the one exception granted to schools- the impossibility of achieving distancing in a school environment was recognised and schools were given an exemption in this area. Since May we have been operating within these guidelines.
Yesterday, I was made aware that new guidelines would be issued to schools. The public health orders would be updated mandating for wider restrictions on areas such as co-curricular activities including music and sport, social activities involving parents and family members, any mixing of students between schools and excursions.
Once I receive the final guidelines, the School will begin the now familiar process of looking at our calendar and deciding whether an activity or event can proceed. The draft guidelines I have seen will have a significant impact on our Co-curricular programme. One specific guideline area will cover Year 12 Graduation ceremonies. Our Year 12 students should be assured that we might be up to Plan C, but we still have Plans D and E to go!
As a School, we want to support NSW Health and do everything possible to reduce community transmission. At the same time, we want to ensure we do what we can to support our students and maintain their sense of wellbeing. This has been a balancing act all year. Our staff are already working on plans that will fit within the guidelines and assist a sense of balance and joy.
By maintaining high levels of hygiene and temperature checking, we have managed to keep our community safe. However, we now need to increase our measures. We actively encourage staff and students to have COVID tests if they display even the slightest symptom. We will further increase the number of hand sanitising stations in the school. From Monday, the wearing of masks on any bus, train, tram or ferry to and from school will be compulsory for Years K-12. Students may not take masks off until after their temperature has been checked in the morning. All students should bring a mask to school each day from Monday (17.8.2020) and may be required to wear a mask at the teacher’s request. We do not envisage our youngest students having to wear these often however we do want to be prepared.
We have made the difficult decision to postpone the Primary athletics carnival once again. In its place tomorrow all K-6 students are to come to school in their sports uniforms and House t-shirt. K-1 will participate in a mini Olympics, Years 2-4 in a House Endurance Challenge and Years 5 and 6 – The Amazing Race. All activities will be held at school.
We are monitoring the situation carefully in regards to netball and soccer on the weekend and information will be sent to all families involved in these sports tomorrow.
All music activities including Wicked will continue as per the schedule for this week however parents and students should expect changes next week. Information about each activity will be sent from the Music staff to the relevant students and families.
I know this news will be met with some disappointment. It is important that we continue to do what we can to ensure the School remains open, that we help reduce the spread and that we protect all members of our Community.
Please remember to inform the School should anyone in your family test positive or if you are identified as a close contact. You can email Kate Grogan at email@example.com. We have also set up an out of hours phone line for weekends or evenings should you need to contact the School after a COVID test result. The number is 0450 673 740.
Mrs Erica Thomas (Head of School)