We are moving quickly towards the end of the 2020 school year. I think that as a school community, we are all looking forward to 2021 and a better new year. Closing access to a school during a pandemic is easier than opening up safely and in a manner that is compliant with advice given by various professionals.
We have already begun to allow some involvement by parents in a limited way, which is similar to how other public schools are managing this part of the process as well. There will be some small differences between schools as the Principal has limited discretion in relation to their own school. Differences include some schools that still don’t allow parent meetings to happen in classrooms; while others have cancelled Sports Day altogether; while in a number of schools, parents are permitted to transport only their own children to SAPSASA events.
We have carefully assessed each school event and activity prior to commencement, determining how to comply with SA Health directions as well as the advice from The Department. As we continue to experience a COVID free period in South Australia, particularly early in 2021, we are planning to open up further access for parents to enjoy being a part of their child’s schooling experience.
This will be carried out in a COVID safe manner and in line with advice given by the experts in SA Health.
So, for 2020, we are maintaining our COVID Safe routines with some small changes as listed below. However, we are constantly reviewing our protocols in light of any new information.
It is worth noting that public schools in our local area are very similar in what we are doing to be COVID Safe. Catholic Education has a similar set of protocols for their sites which they are expecting their schools to follow.
Our biggest challenge remains that of complacency and while it would be easy just to return to our previous behaviour, such as allowing everyone to attend our sports day or have open access to school buildings, that would be contrary to the safety of all concerned. During this pandemic we have to particularly look after the vulnerable in our community which means sometimes making the hard decisions rather than what might appear to be ‘popular’.
I have listed some points that may be of interest in relation to our school.
The remainder of 2020 will likely stay pretty much as it is now. Term four includes;
- having a face-to face Governing Council meeting take place
- Year 7 Graduation will have 2 adults per graduate able to attend – we have to comply with the COVID Safe Plan at the venue (at this stage the Graduation dinner will also go ahead)
- volunteer support in the school canteen by one volunteer at a time, limited to 2 designated people
- Wakakirri parents attended the performance of their students with the distancing strictly adhered to, sanitising requirements and a comprehensive attendance register maintained
- some specific meetings with parents and teachers taking place in meetings rooms and classrooms if required
- school tours taking place with strict COVID safe practices adhered to (limited to small groups)
- Sports Day live streamed for parents
- inviting specific guests to speak to groups/classes of students (scientists, authors)
- opening up limited excursions as long as they can comply with physical distancing (staff attending to ensure required ratios are maintained)
- end of year excursion to the North Adelaide Swimming Centre has been approved for year 6 and year 7 students
For this term we will continue the following;
- all visitors to sign the attendance register if attending a meeting or scheduled activity at school
- sanitising available and is to be used
- no classroom parent volunteers at this stage
- drop off and collection of children to be done via the front office
- distancing of 1.5 m between adults to be maintained
- limited face-to face meetings with parents – need determined by the school
- any child, parent or staff member who is unwell is not to attend school
- induction for new parents managed in the school hall with distancing and sanitising in place
In relation to The Department, the following is in place;
- daily increased cleaning will continue at all department for education sites for the remainder of 2020
- daily student attendance reporting for all schools must continue to be reported by 4pm each day, and weekly for preschools
- the general public should not access school playgrounds or play equipment
- parents/visitors must continue to physical distance, including at school pick up and drop off.
- all service providers, non-government employees and other visitors accessing a department for Education children’s centre, preschool, school or office for work-related purposes must complete the site entry form.
The real positive at present is that as at the time of writing this blogpost, we have only 17 active cases of coronavirus in SA and all are in quarantine, with zero community transmission cases. This certainly has allowed us to enjoy freedom in moving around our community, having some excursions and incursions, while at the same time exploring the benefits of Zoom such as our Woodend Japanese classes ‘Zooming’ with MYOJO Japanese classes in Tokyo.
Thankyou once again for your support and understanding during this time.