Dear Students, Parents and Carers,
I hope everyone is travelling as well as possible in the current environment, it is encouraging that the measures we are enduring appear to be having the desired effect with the amount of new COVID19 cases decreasing.
Remote learning commenced on Wednesday and the early reports back from staff indicate everyone is taking a positive attitude into online learning. As expected there have been a few glitches as people become familiar with the technical aspects and some systems experiencing an overload affecting capacity for short periods of time. It appears that most of the technical issues are being resolved relatively quickly.
Overwhelmingly though the message has been that students are engaging with their learning and communicating with their teachers.
The senior campus is running online classes with both VCE and VCAL subjects and online attendance and engagement has been at very high levels.
The junior campuses are providing learning tasks for subjects and most communication is through email at this stage. Again, the level of student engagement with the tasks has been very pleasing. It seems that some students are excelling through this format of learning as it suits their preferences and strengths, whilst others are improving skills in using technology and different forms of communication. If we look for a silver lining in this situation it certainly involves strengthening learning in how to use technology in a more practical manner than just entertainment or social communication.
On behalf of all the staff I would like to thank all families for their support during the adjustment to remote learning and the many positive comments about how we are handling this unprecedented situation. I know the teaching staff have felt valued and encouraged with the positive feedback as they strive to run online classes, provide learning tasks and support students with their learning.
The Girls all got onto a multiple chat session and helped each other through the maths today and I know they all enjoyed it. In fact some of them are still doing humanities work now and it’s a quarter to 5.
Great work. Everyone is learning at the moment, Parents and Teachers included. While we can plan and plan and plan some more, I am sure we will get better as we put all this in to practice.
Recently there has been a lot of debate in the media about education that is contributing to confusion in a time when clarity and consistency of message would be more helpful. As part of the State education system we are following the Victorian Government’s directive that all students who can learn from home must learn from home.
The reason for this was reiterated this week by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, who stated:
“My advice to the Victorian Government was and continues to be that to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), schools should undertake remote learning for term two.
This is because having around a million children and their parents in closer contact with teachers and other support staff has the potential to increase cases of coronavirus not just in schools but across the community.
By having remote learning, it can contribute to physical distancing and therefore supports efforts to drive transmission down.”
As per my last letter, our approach is, in line with the announcement by the Premier and Deputy Premier, we will provide care and supervision for children who have no option available to remain at home or be otherwise cared for. It is important to note that in line with government requirements, and for the health and safety of students, staff and our community - any student who can stay at home, must stay at home. We emphasise this point not to discourage those in genuine need, but to ensure the service is only utilised as intended, so that we can minimise risk and endeavour to keep everyone safe. We understand this will be a difficult time for many. We are working hard to ensure that learning from home will be as seamless and supportive for students, as possible. We also understand that for many parents, working from home yourself while supporting your own child/ren will be challenging and complex at times. Many of our teachers and support staff will be in similar situations as they work from home and deliver learning to Kurnai students online.
Included as an appendix to this letter is information on how to apply for the care and supervision at school if required.
A reminder that if families need assistance with laptops and/or internet connection please call the relevant campus general office between 9am-3pm on school days, or email via firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively leave a phone message on 51650600 if you require this support.
Our communications team are posting highlights and useful snippets on our College Facebook site and I encourage you to check in from time to time to see some of the examples of the creative and supportive approaches to learning taking place across the college.
Also, information that has been provided by the Department of Education and Training for parents and carers to support you supervise your children at home can be found here:
Having made such a positive start to the term we are looking forward to the next few weeks as we become more familiar with the new routines. We will continue to update you regularly.
In the meantime, if you have any queries or need further support do not hesitate to contact your campus principal, we are here for you. This is a new way of operating for all of us and it is through working and supporting each other that we will be able to provide the best education for all of our students.
Please continue to take care of yourself and each other,
How to apply for care and supervision at school
Late last term we sought information from families who may need to access student care and supervision. For families where circumstances have changed and you may now need to access this service, please complete the Care and Supervision application form attached to this letter in Compass and forward it to the College email address above. In line with Department of Education requirements, students at school will be allocated to classrooms, sitting at individual tables. Students will be able to access online learning resources via their device, whilst being supervised by an allocated staff member at the college. Staff and students will need to maintain the required 1.5m social distancing requirement, both inside and during break periods. The canteen will remain closed, and as such, students will need to bring a snack and packed lunch. Importantly, no student will be able to attend for on-site supervision, unless a prior arrangement has been made and confirmed by the school. This is required as the school must adhere to strict guidelines regarding staffing allocations and staff-to-student ratios, as part of the government’s social distancing rules.