Phased Return to Classroom Learning
Thank you for your extraordinary support during this period of significant change.
While in some ways this has been a challenging and difficult time, it has also provided us with the opportunity to learn new ways of working with our students, our families, our colleagues and our communities. One of the exciting tasks ahead is to work together to ensure that what we have learned is captured, refined and shared. A ‘return to normal’ is not what we will expect, as we reflect on the challenges we have surmounted which have changed the nature and shape of our work, forever.
I am writing to provide details regarding the staged return to school for students commencing on Tuesday, 26 May. The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff continues to be a driver in our planning for a return to onsite learning.
VCE and VCAL Students Return to School
1. All Year 11 and Year 12 students will commence on Tuesday, 26 May. Year 10 students in a Unit 1 and 2 acceleration study will also be expected onsite. This does not include Year 10 Unit 1 Religious Education. Unit 1 and 2 Year 10 students will be asked to sign in at Front Reception when they arrive, and sign out when they are leaving the College.
2. Year 10 Acceleration students can attend classroom lessons for their regular Year 10 subjects while teachers are conducting remote learning onsite, if there is not enough time for them to travel between school and home for their lessons.
3. Students in Years 7-10 will return on Tuesday, 9 June. More information about this stage of the process will be provided in coming weeks.
4. Students in Years 7-10 who are vulnerable or who cannot be supervised at home, may access their remote learning onsite at the College between Tuesday, 26 May and Friday, 5 June, before their return to school on Tuesday, 9 June. To assist with planning for the supervision of students participating in remote learning onsite, and in keeping with the COVID-19 Safety Management Plan, a survey has been sent to all families today asking if your daughter(s) in Years 7-10 requires onsite remote learning. We require all families of Years 7-10 students to please complete the survey by 9.00 am on Tuesday, 19 May.
5. Teachers of Years 7-10 subjects will be conducting online classes remotely from the College between Tuesday, 26 May and Friday, 5 June.
Learning and Teaching
6. The first week after each staged student return will be assessment-free, ie assessment-free for Unit 1-4 students from 26 May until 1 June and assessment-free for Years 7-10 students from 9 June until 15 June. Experience and feedback from colleagues in schools in other states has suggested that the return to onsite learning has been overwhelming for students, and needs to be carefully managed.
7. At this stage, the last week of Term 2 will be an ‘assessment week’ for VCE students. We are currently preparing an assessment timetable for Unit 1-4 classes that teachers will be able to utilise to schedule SACs, if this time is needed. There will be no Year 11 and Year 12 classes in that week, to support students to prepare for SACs and/or access teacher support, as needed. VCAL classes will run as normal. There will be no examination period for Years 9, 10 and 11 students. Further details will be forthcoming.
8. We will schedule remote year level assemblies over the coming weeks to connect with students and to communicate the changed circumstances that we will be living with as they return to school.
9. The plan for Tuesday, 26 May will be provided to students next week. We will start with a ‘remote’ assembly and House Groups, before we move into lessons.
10. At least until Tuesday, 9 June, we will operate our current remote learning timetable so that we continue to be proactive about screen time, brain breaks and physical activity for staff and students engaging in online learning.
11. The Benny and Me Food Store will be open. To reduce the number of students gathering at the Food Store, lunch orders are encouraged.
Wellbeing and Health and Safety
12. We encourage parents and legal guardians to take the opportunity to speak with your daughter(s) about how they are feeling regarding the return to school. It is important for students to be able to voice their concerns and anxieties, as we move into this next phase of our COVID-19 response, and to acknowledge these responses as a normal reaction to the times that we are living through. While students have had some semblance of a routine over the past few weeks, a return to school means another adjustment to a new routine. We cannot assume that this will happen automatically or seamlessly for all our girls, and we need to be mindful and patient of the challenges this may present. Staff members will be supportive and understanding of the girls in this time of transition.
13. The College has implemented increased health and hygiene measures in anticipation of a return to school. This includes additional hand sanitising stations in key locations across the College, and additional high-level cleaning and physical distancing protocols, for staff and students. We will publicise a detailed list of these protocols in the coming week. Please see the articles in this edition of the IONA for more details regarding cleaning and hygiene.
14.Classrooms will remain open at recess and lunchtime to reduce large gatherings of students in the school yard. We are asking students to be respectful of these spaces and leave them clean and tidy for use in Lessons 2 and 4.
15. All students need to continue following hand-washing and personal hygiene practices diligently.
16. The Department of Transport continues to work closely with the DHHS and transport operators to implement measures to limit the risk and spread of COVID-19 so that students can feel confident travelling on public transport to and from school. Students should practise hand hygiene before and after catching school transport (ie prior to leaving home and at the end of the school day), and practise physical distancing at bus stops, train stations and interchange locations for other shared transport services.
17. Parents and legal guardians, particularly of students with complex medical needs, should consider all transport to school options and may opt to use private transport.
18. If your daughter is unwell please keep her at home. If our staff notice that your daughter is unwell, she will be isolated and arrangements made with you for her to go home until she is well. It is important that we continue to do everything we can to reduce the spread of the virus, or any other illnesses, as the cold weather sets in, that could make people more vulnerable to other illnesses.
19. If your daughter is immune-compromised, please contact her House Teacher in the coming week so that we can be aware of the support we need to put in place for her.
20. Visitors to the College will be restricted, and we ask that you come into the College only if it is absolutely necessary. We will be enacting physical distancing protocols in College Reception.
21. There will be three exit points for students at the end of the day:
- Leslie Road gate for students heading toward Rose Street for access to public transport;
- Buckley Street gate for students heading in the direction of Lorraine Street and Lincoln Road; and
- Stanley Street gate for students being collected by car in Stanley Street and surrounding areas.
22. Parents are asked to remain in their cars when they come to collect their daughters.
23. Our girls have been extraordinary throughout this experience, and we are looking forward to welcoming them back. Once students resume school, please remember that our high expectations of them will continue and we expect our students to adhere to our key policies regarding behaviour, uniform and grooming, punctuality, attendance and submission of work.
There are a few more issues that we need to work through and I thank you for your patience as we sort through these. Please do not hesitate to contact the College, if you have any specific concerns regarding your daughter(s).