Dear Parents and Families,
By this stage students will now have had at least 4 weeks of learning from home and for many families even longer, as this started late in Term 1. We understand that this feels like a long stretch for people and we are certainly pleased to see restrictions easing and looking forward to returning to some normality.
A reminder that for high schools, students are expected to return on Tuesday, 9th June. While we do have a significant number of students who are attending and need to be supported at school, we also appreciate that many people have been able to follow the Public Health advice and continue with the learning from home provision. This helps to support the safety and wellbeing of our whole community, as we work through this challenging time.
A huge thank you to families who are learning from home. This has been a steep learning curve for us all, so considering how rapidly we had to transition to this way of learning, students, staff and parents can give themselves a huge pat on the back for being adaptable, flexible and resilient. This has been a wonderful partnership and we have greatly valued the supportive way we have been able to go about this, with the best interests of our young people always at the forefront of our thinking.
To our parents, we really value your ongoing support of our students who are learning from home. We greatly appreciate the very positive feedback from the 160 families who responded to our parent survey. It is good to know that our communication home is working well and that you feel that students are well supported and the learning is meeting their needs. Thanks for the many individual comments of appreciation for the work teachers are doing during this time. We also take on board the feedback that there has been too much work in many of the 2 Week Modules; staff have already made changes in the 2nd and 3rd Modules and we will continue to address the workload issues that have been raised. Please be aware that the recommendation is 4 hours of dedicated learning each weekday.
Some important messages:
- Our first priority is to support the wellbeing of students; please don’t hesitate to contact teachers, Grade Leaders or Support Staff for assistance and support;
- We would encourage a focus on completing core learning first;
- Where students are struggling to keep up, they need to contact teachers to gain advice about which work to focus on (which might look like renegotiating deadlines or encouraging students to put energy into completing the first 2 modules well, before they start the 3rd Module). We are keen to avoid students having a lot of unfinished work or feeling like they haven’t understood the work and moving onto something else.
We would like to share with you a link to a clip that has been made by Jonathan in Grade 10. The clip captures what learning has been like in recent weeks and highlights the different modes of delivery and the fantastic efforts of students, staff and families to stay connected during this time. It also provides a taste of some of the landscaping work currently underway and some images of students using our new facilities. A huge thank you to Jonathan for his work in making the clip – it is a great record of recent weeks and a reminder of the many skills and strengths of our schools’ community.
A message from our Department of Education Secretary, Tim Bullard
I want to thank parents and carers for your incredible partnership with teachers to support your child to Learn at Home. I know we have all had to learn some new things to make this work and this has only been possible because of your effort to embrace the situation that you have been presented with.
Public Health advice is that physical distancing between adults in the school environment is a keyway to keep schools safe. What this means is that your school will need to continue to engage with you in different ways whole COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Schools will look a bit different to what you are used to. As we work hard to implement physical distancing and hygiene measures, there are some key things we are asking for your help and support with:
- Don’t send your child to school if they are sick.
- Follow the school’s advice about where and when to drop off and collect your child.
- Keep talking with your child about washing their hands and following any extra rules that teachers might put in place to help with hygiene and physical distancing.
- Stay connected with your school by email, phone and other platforms your school recommends.
Protocols in our school during COVID-19
Public Health advice is clear – it is safe for schools to be open. This is because we have a low rate of Coronavirus (COVID-19) community spread in Tasmania and there has been increased and expanded testing. To reduce the risk even further, schools have hygiene and physical distancing measures in place.
While it is safe to send your child/ren to school, we still need adults to maintain a distance from other adults, whilst on site.
To help us with adult physical distancing, we are asking all parents/carers to be mindful of the following:
- When picking up and dropping off students at school, please don’t get out of your car.
- If you need to contact the school or communicate with a teacher, please use phone or email wherever possible. Face to face meetings will be minimised and only held when necessary.
- If you need to call into the Admin Office, please follow our physical distancing protocols and signage.
- We would also like to reinforce the need for any visitors to our school to enter through Admin and be signed in as visitors. We currently have many community members who are using our grounds as a thoroughfare and a space for dog walking. This is concerning for student and staff safety, so your support with encouraging others to comply with not wandering through our grounds during the school day and ensuring that visitors are here for school matters only, would be greatly appreciated.
We want to make school as safe as possible for everyone. Feel free to ask questions if you require any further information. These things won’t be forever, but we all have a shared responsibility to act in a way that supports everyone being safe.
More information is available on the Department of Education website: www.education.tas.gov.au
Home Group teachers have worked very hard in recent weeks to support students with a focus on maintaining relationships, supporting wellbeing and helping everyone stay connected. I have enjoyed visiting some classrooms over the last two weeks and talking to students both online and here at school. It has been great to see the positive interactions and the creative ideas being used to make this engaging. It has certainly helped to support students staying in good routines. I would like to reinforce the importance of being deliberate about doing things that support a healthy lifestyle and promote wellbeing including regular exercise, getting a good amount of sleep, eating a healthy diet and having a routine that supports learning. This will also be critical in helping students transition back to school in coming weeks. The article below is also a good read and has some very practical tips for managing anxiety.
10 tips for managing anxiety during COVID-19
By the Black Dog Institute
1. Channel your anxious energy into action: get informed, plan, and prepare
We often feel anxious when events feel out of our control, and when we think we don’t have the capacity, skills or ability to cope. Anxiety tricks us into thinking about the worst-case scenarios in vivid and frightening detail.
Instead of worrying, try your best to focus on what’s under your control. Equip yourself with the facts about COVID-19 from trusted sources. Follow government advice and make a plan about what you and your family will do if you need to be in isolation, or quarantine.
2. Limit or avoid unhelpful media and misinformation
Being exposed to constant, alarming, anxiety-inducing stories convinces us that there is something to panic about, and further perpetuates myths, rumours, misinformation, uncertainty and anxiety. The more we read and hear about it, the more frightening it becomes, and the less chance we have to distract ourselves and do things that can take our minds off it.
Although it might be tempting to keep informed, or difficult to escape, limiting your exposure to media, news, and social media about coronavirus will help quell the panic.
3. Cut down or stop the behaviours that are fuelling your anxiety
There are certain actions, when performed frequently, that can fuel anxiety about health, and germ-phobia. Focusing too much on bodily symptoms, and relying on “Dr Google”, can consume one with anxious thoughts and panic.
Being aware of these behaviours, understanding how they’re making you feel, and replacing them with more helpful coping strategies can alleviate disproportionate feelings of anxiety.
4. Stay focused on the here and now, taking each day step by step
Try to focus on the here and now- not the past and not the future. Live in the moment and take one day at a time.
5. Be aware of negative thoughts and don’t give them too much power
Just because we’re thinking something, doesn’t always mean it’s true. When you notice yourself worrying a lot, take a step back, and try to let worries pass by without focussing on them too much.
6. Look after your body
Get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and drugs. This will help protect your mental health and immune system.
7. Stay connected with others
It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others and connect with other people who are supportive. Try to stay connected to supportive people in your life so you feel less isolated and lonely. You might need try new ways of connecting that you haven’t before.
8. Help other people, be kind, and compassionate
When we help other people, it can also make us feel better. We are all in this together so let’s try our best to be kind and compassionate to each other.
9. Take a breath
When you feel overwhelmed take a few slow, deep breaths to help you calm down. If there are other things that help you relax (e.g., a walk or listening to music) you could try these too.
10. If you’re feeling like you’re not coping, get professional advice
It’s ok to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Psychological therapies can be done online, or remotely via phone or videoconferencing, and are an excellent option if you’re in self-isolation, or worried about going to a clinic.
Importantly, be assured that for most people, the anxiety will be temporary, and will reduce over time, especially once the virus has been contained.
Our school has continued to be a hive of activity with great progress on our capital works in recent weeks. We have had a mini makeover in our Science corridors with painting and freshening up this space following it receiving extra wear and tear due to being a heavy traffic area for the last 12 months. Our wonderful Lab Technicians, Annette McCarthy and Jane Farrell, have refurbished the Science display cabinet and done a fantastic job of this. Some great displays are on show and it really brightens up this area, highlighting the important learning that happens in this space.
Ms Natalie Odgers
(Message from West Tamar Council)
As you are most likely aware, the school immunisation program is not going ahead as originally planned for this term.
With the current Covid-19 restrictions and low number of students attending schools, Council believe it is not appropriate to proceed with the school immunisation program at this time. The Council shall be reviewing this decision as they monitor the constantly evolving situation.
It is still the goal to complete the school immunisations at the earliest and most appropriate time this year. In the meantime, families do have the option to take their child to the doctor to have the vaccinations sooner if they wish.
|Monday||BBQ Chicken Breast Wraps (toasted or untoasted)|
Loaded Wedges with Bacon Cheese
Burgers – Chicken, Beef and Fish
Reminder that soup (vegetarian) is available at recess and lunchtime – $1.00 small and $2.00 large.
Canteen orders - Qkr App – Getting started is easy – try it yourself today, just follow the instructions to download on your device.