COVID-19

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23 March 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

RE: Continuity of Learning at St Benedict’s, Burwood

As you are aware, the Victorian Government has ordered the closure of Victorian schools from the conclusion of classes today 23 March 2020 at 3.15pm.  This order has been echoed by Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM).  All staff will be at school this week.  Our primary aim for the remainder of this week will be to organise our curriculum resources and online teaching aids that will commence at the beginning of Term 2, on Tuesday 14 April, should they be required at that time.

Our long term desire to continue the learning of your child.  Our aim is to provide an experience of ‘continuity of learning’ for each student consistent with our emphasis on ‘every child, every moment’.

Please note the following:

  • School Office will be open Tuesday to Thursday this week at the regular hours of 8:30am-4:00pm
  • All children in attendance today have been given an extra allocation of Library books to take home over the extended holiday break. If your child was not at school today, you may like to visit the library over the next few days to collect books.  There will be someone in the Library from 10:00-10:30 each day this week to assist.

For this week, parents can choose from the activities in Reading, Writing and Mathematics on the following pages to support their child’s learning.  Please remember that the school holidays are nearly upon us and the children have worked hard throughout the term and may need a mental break from school work by the end of the week.  We encourage you to focus on 3 key aspects of learning:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Maths

If this break from school is extended for a longer period, teachers will support learning at home with plans for organising the learning throughout the week from the beginning of Term 2.   We will work to provide resources for you to use at home.  The resources will be organised into a timetable for the week with directed learning tasks for each day.   Each day there will be a lesson in Reading, Writing, Mathematics and an Inquiry/RE assignment to continue throughout the week.  Please be assured that we will work together with you to support the learning of every child in our school community and maintain a continuity of learning for each student.  In addition, please take every opportunity to provide additional ongoing learning experiences for your child that is age appropriate.

We are aware that not everyone has robust and full access to the internet and a laptop or some other device for every child, so we have devised two complementary sets of resources.

There are some important aspects to structuring student learning at home:

  • Routine – have a consistent routine that begins at a particular time and then proceeds through certain activities. You can negotiate elements of this routine with your child/children.  And evaluate each day and make adjustments.  Students are reassured by the pattern of a day.
  • Timetable – it is good to work through a timetable with students at the start of each day. Basically a 20-30 minute activity or exercise or handout then a brief break then the next activity.  They are reassured by the knowledge of what is going to happen next.
  • Outcomes – look for a result with each activity. Completed artwork.  Writing for a purpose with a specific structure (beginning, middle, end). A set of maths exercises completed.  Completed jigsaw and then a lengthy look at their achievement and invite self-reflection.  Students look for affirmation and feedback of their achievements and the reassurance they are ‘on the right path’ with any activity.

We hope that the resources on the next few pages are useful and we will add to this in forthcoming days and weeks

Thank you for your patience with all that is happening.  I have been greatly heartened by the positive attitude of staff and the way they have gently worked with your children at this difficult time.

Best wishes, on behalf of all the staff at St Benedict’s

Ms Caroline Sheehan
Acting Principal

23rd March 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

I write to you to confirm that our school will follow the recommendation from the Victorian Government and the Chief Health Officer that school holidays commence from Tuesday 24 March.  As a result, Monday 23 March will be the final day of classes for Term 1, 2020. 

Students have been asked to ensure they take all of their required schoolbooks and stationery home at the conclusion of classes today.  But please be aware that staff are at school for the remainder of this week if students need access.  Please email ahead of time. 

For those parents who are currently working in essential services (ambulance, fire, hospitals, medical professions etc.), the school will be providing supervision for their children during school hours for the remainder of this week. If you are intending to send your child to school, please notify the school as to the essential service you are involved in, along with your child’s name, to allow us to have adequate supervision during the day 

We expect that Term 2 will begin on Tuesday 14 April, which is a student-free day, with students scheduled to return on Wednesday 15 April. (Please note this is different to the previous communication)

Any changes to these dates will be guided by the ongoing advice of the Chief Health Officer, and will be communicated to parents.  The Department of Health and Human Services has a number of resources on its website, which explain the virus, details risk-reduction practices and behaviours, and answers frequently asked questions. These are available at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

You can also find information about Catholic education’s response to COVID-19 at www.cecv.catholic.edu.au/Coronavirus-information-for-parents. I have attached a letter from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli to this email.

In the meantime, we thank all in our community for your ongoing understanding as we seek to keep our school communities safe.  Further updates will be provided if there are additional changes. 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the school directly.

Yours sincerely

Ms Caroline Sheehan 

 

18th March 2020 

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

This information has just been received from CECV and I wanted to communicate with you all.  We are continuing to maintain a regular routine of learning with students in our care.  The rapid evolution of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues to be a challenge for everyone in education.  I am aware that it has caused concerns for parents, staff and students.  Because the health and safety of school communities is our highest priority, the school’s decision to stay open is based on advice from the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers.

 Currently, the advice of Dr Brett Sutton, Victorian Chief Health Officer, is that ‘pre-emptive school closures are not likely to be proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time’.  When advice from the Chief Medical Officers changes, we will communicate those changes to our school community.

We continue to actively monitor developments and are working closely with the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV).  The CECV is partnering with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to ensure our practices reflect current advice and support the needs of our school community.  I am receiving regular updates from the CECV, and ensuring school leaders and staff are aware of coronavirus reporting and management practices, and are well-placed to respond as circumstances change. 

The school’s leaders and teaching staff are committed to ensuring that learning remains available to students as part of all students’ entitlement to access the Victorian curriculum.  We have begun to put plans in place to support students to learn from home but, while we remain open, the emphasis will be on the learning and teaching currently in place in the classroom. We already have localised resources and ideas for supporting the students’ learning from home, should that become necessary. 

Learning from home requires careful management and may not be available immediately.  Please contact the school directly to discuss educational continuity options for your child. 

Should you have any concerns relating to school operations, or the health and safety of students, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Kind regards

Ms Caroline Sheehan
Acting Principal

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