Michael Gray, Principal
Dear St. Joseph’s School Community,
St. Joseph’s COVID-19 Plan Update: Action today and working for a hopeful tomorrow!
Today I write again as we continue to have our school open for student learning on-site. Last week I visited many of our senior school classrooms and was impressed with our student’s insight, calmness and learning focus while all around our state the pandemic is playing out.
After visiting classrooms this weekend I was reading the Age magazine supplement. In the supplement I encountered the following comment by author Jo Stanley; what she said was “the kind of creative thinking our children do at 11, 12 and 13 put our world's future in very safe hands.” (Jo Stanley, Life Matters Magazine 26/07/20). Jo was sharing this comment after spending the last term in lockdown with her primary age children. Her quote resonated with me after recently experiencing first-hand classroom discussions with our students. In our classrooms we covered our school camp cancellations, wearing face masks, human diversity, empathy, the current Covid-19 local situation and how we can support each other. It was an impressive and awe-inspiring privilege for me. As I stated above our students remain calm, they appreciate being in class at school with friends and teachers, they all value your family support and are committed to a world of peace, reconciliation, science, discovery and community. Ultimately what also came through in these discussions were your children’s, our students focus on maintaining a positive outlook on life and the importance of learning.
While degrees of anxiety are present amongst us all, the impressive aspect of the children’s resilience is keeping an eye on what is important; that being their learning, family and community. Parents and staff all should feel very proud of how you are supporting your children and the student’s ability to navigate the pandemic with perspective, clarity and empathy.
School Leadership Team: Covid-19 Plan Update
Student Masks: In line with advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS), Department of Education Victoria and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) have advised schools in the lockdown areas of the state (Melbourne and Mitchell Shire) that students who are aged 12 or under by grade 6, who attend primary school for on-site learning will not be required to wear face coverings. At St. Joseph's masks will also not be required for students at school. Students can wear masks to and from school if parents deem so. Teachers and education support staff will not be required to wear face coverings while teaching but may choose to do so when not teaching (for example, in the staffroom, on yard duty, and when providing first-aide or taking temperatures and when travelling to and from school. CECV has encouraged schools to use discretion and common sense when supporting staff and students with these matters.
Parent Communication: Options will continue to be multi-faceted; including visiting the front office, telephone between 8:30 am to 4:00 pm or 24/7 messaging via our schoolzine app, email system and emergency text messaging as required.
The school car park and school entry points will continue to be supervised and is not a parent drop-off or pick up destination. Exemptions apply to students who may have an injury, disability or special circumstance. These cases are negotiated in the first instance by contacting our school Occupational Health and Safety team leader Alecia in our school office by phone at 5561 1343. Of note, if students arrive before 8:30 am they enter the school from our front entrance, attend the school library and then move to classrooms for classroom openings at 8:40 am.
What do I look for regarding COVID Symptoms: Our school Covid-19 plan requires us to keep an up to date Risk Assessment Matrix to support school safety; hence our close monitoring of both staff and students general health. Temperature testing, school exclusion if in contact with active virus cases, staying home if unwell and if in contact with testing programs stay away from school until all clear. Family support for these steps is valued and appreciated. While at home an abridged learning plan will be available to help while in self-isolation. If you are unsure about any aspect of our school Covid-19 approach please feel free to contact me via our school phone or email. I value and appreciate the fact that staff, students and families are looking out for each other. As the Victorian premier shared this weekend, more cases mean more tragedy. We cannot be complacent but do need to manage the health environment in a sensible calm manner.
Confidential COVID questions: Email principal on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support monitoring of our own health I share the following information:
Most common symptoms: fever, dry cough & tiredness
Less common symptoms: aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on the skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
Serious symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement.
Parish News: A New ‘Ministry District’
Last week Bishop Paul Bird notified the local catholic community that the parishes of Warrnambool West and Dennington will be linked to the parishes of Warrnambool, Koroit and Port Fairy as a ministry district i.e. a larger parish consisting of these communities. This new ministry district will be served by two priests (Fr. John Fitzgerald and Fr John Corrigan), Fr. Michael Linehan retires as Parish Priest of Warrnambool West and Dennington at the end of this year.
Appointment of a new ‘Director of Catholic Education, Ballarat Dioceses’.
This weekend Bishop Paul Bird also advised of the appointment of Mr Tom Sexton to the position of Director of Catholic Education for the Dioceses of Ballarat. Tom comes to the role with 30 years of experience in Catholic education and 24 years in senior leadership. First as a teacher, then principal, education officer and recently an Assistant Director of the Sandhurst Catholic Education Office, Bendigo. I take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome Tom as our new director and wish him well in this role.
Thank you for your ongoing support of all of our students and staff.
Michael Gray. Principal.
First Eucharist is a Sacramental Program for Year 4 students who have been Baptised and Confirmed.
Please complete this form and make a $25 contribution payment, to meet the cost of materials, through CDFpay (our online ordering system).
Registrations closes on Friday 7th August, 2020.
A kit containing the materials and information to prepare your child for the Celebration of First Eucharist will be distributed to your child once registrations have closed.
This year Eucharist will be run a little differently with children working through the materials at home with a parent rather than the traditional family group meetings at school. In Term 2 the Confirmation (Year 3) program was run with this new format and the feedback we received indicated that this worked well.
The Parish team are putting together an information video for parents to view in their own time in place of a face to face Parent Information evening. A link to this video will be made available through a future newsletter.
Please contact the Parish Office on (03) 5562 2231 if you have any queries.
Parents are invited to join us for our scheduled PSA Meeting at 7:30pm on Tuesday 28th July via Zoom.
This meeting is going to be held via the ZOOM platform. Please enter your name when prompted.
Meeting ID: 926 7483 8150
Wednesday 12th August, 2020, Orders close 3pm Monday 10th August
Once per term the PSA run a Pizza Day as a "special occasion" lunch option and to raise money for the PSA. A special thank you to a small team of staff, many who are parents at the school, who are volunteering their time to assist on the day.
Children can choose from either Garlic or Hawaiian pizza (Gluten Free options available) which are ordered via CDFPay (Canteen ordering system) and provided by Pinkie’s Pizza who are one of our major school sponsors.
There are no canteen orders on Pizza Days and children not wanting to order pizza should bring their lunch from home.
Sorry, no late orders can be accepted.
The school uses a variety of methods to communicate with families. When a message is of high importance it will be sent as a text message to all parents/guardians. Reminders and newsletters are sent via the SZApp and Email.
As the phone number the text is sent is always different the school starts all txt messages with SJS: to indicate that the message is from St Josephs Primary School.
We started with 10 of these spotted bags in sick bay at the start of the year and now only have 1 left.
We use these bags to put children's wet or dirty clothes in when we lend them clothes from sick bay with instructions to return the loaned items once they have been washed.
Could any families who still have one of our bags at home please return it to the school. Thank you.
Invitation to Families from Catholic School Parents Victoria
Catholic School Parents Victoria have provided this survey for Principals to pass onto families to capture experiences of Remote Learning. Catholic School Parents Victoria, along with Catholic Education Ballarat, invite you to complete the following remote learning family survey. The survey is designed specifically for parents/carers to provide feedback on your experiences during remote learning at home in Term 2 of 2020.
Your valued feedback will provide Catholic School Parents Victoria and Catholic Education Ballarat with information to form future discussions and sharing of parent perspective with key decision makers to improve education and the learning experience for Catholic school students. Your feedback is valuable to inform us of the impact on student learning and wellbeing as well as the strengthening of relationships and learning between home and school. Click on the link to complete the 10 minute survey by Wednesday 12 August.
If you have any questions please ring Liz McIntyre, Senior Education Officer, Wellbeing on 0417 498 902.