Michael Gray, Principal
Dear St. Joseph’s School Community,
Principal Message and School Information
Today's Principal's Message, in this newsletter, is reproduced from yesterday's communication to parents with other added relevant information.
Welcome back to the new school term; I trust all had a chance to find time to draw breath, spend time with each other and re-energize for a new term of learning, connection and achievement.
Apology for a Sunday afternoon communication but this note is held until now to ensure our advice to the school community complies with current and up to date government and system authority policy. Monday is our usual newsletter day but with the COVID situation, it is best to keep everyone aware of arrangements early. As always if you are not sure please contact our school office team on 5561 1343 and our team will answer any questions.
Again we have to consider the health environment but remember we are a community supporting each other. The Victorian Government has made a significant announcement about the introduction of new measures for schools across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) has endorsed this decision for Melbourne Catholic schools and has also indicated that there will be no changes to Term 3 for Catholic schools in regional Victoria, other than Mitchell Shire. Schools outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to face-to-face learning as scheduled on Monday 13 July. St Joseph’s is not located in the areas affected and is therefore not subject to the government’s measures. As a result, our school will resume on-site on Monday 13 July for all students.
In the interest of community safety if you feel worried about the slightest risk of COVID infection, due to time in one of the identified high-risk Melbourne suburbs or visitors from Melbourne to this region over the last two weeks that you consult a medical GP and discuss making a decision for your family to be coronavirus tested.
The government’s announcements are a necessary action to limit the spread of coronavirus and help keep our school communities safe. While we are not impacted by the city school closure announcements we must continue to be vigilant and follow the health advice we have received about hygiene, temperature testing and social distancing.
The health advice is: the enhanced cleaning of schools and the provision of personal hygiene supplies including hand sanitiser must continue. Schools must also continue to provide multiple entry points, and staggered drop-offs and pick-ups where necessary, to reduce the number of adults gathering around school grounds at any one time.
School Leadership Team: Term 3 School Safety Arrangements
Before and After School Dropoff and Pick Up remain as was the last Term; surname-based to one of three areas, Queens Road, School Loop and Tennis Centre.
- Note, school gates open from 8:30 am and close at 4:00 pm daily
- If students arrive before 8:30 am they must enter the school from our front entrance, supervision will be in the Library Resource Centre. If parents do not collect a student from collection points by 3:45 pm students will be supervised and collected from our school library resource centre.
- Parking Update: Options around St Joseph’s Primary School: For student collection after school, parents who are wanting their children to walk to them, are able to park along Bromfield St, in Barbers Lane, on the south-side of Botanic Road (in front of the gardens), in the Aquazone car park and along Queens Road. (This does not affect the Tennis Court or Loop pickup families). For families who pick up in Queens Road, the small plot of vacant land on Queens Road, adjacent to the Creek (opposite our entry gate) IS PRIVATE PROPERTY and is NOT to be used for parent parking.
- School Cleaning: A full clean has been undertaken over the break, Staff were encouraged to not access the building over the break to both rest, get ready for term 3 and allow for the full uninterrupted cleaning program.
- Virus Containment Approach: Social distancing wherever practical in a school setting (Eg, no full assembly, multiple staff rooms, limiting visitors). Student support and education about healthy hygiene practices including own drink bottles. Temperature testing of symptomatic students, staff/students compulsory stay at home if unwell. Whole school advice to medical authorities if school community positive tests and all community members.
- Student Masks: School leadership reviewed this option last week, after considering medical advice and the numerous practicalities of young people wearing and the ability of our school to supply continually we will not make them compulsory.
- 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 and email system.
- The school car park 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.
- What do I look for regarding COVID Symptoms:
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
Hopeful Future and Community Support
Blueprint for Life: Outstanding short speech by Martin Luther King Jr. (An American civil rights activist in the 1960s). This speech focuses on aspiring to lead a life of meaning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGt1zbNt2TI
Australian Psychological Society: https://www.psychology.org.au/COVID-19-Australians This site provides outstanding, research-based support for adults. They have great advice for lockdown, wellbeing and managing difficult situations.
Parish Sacramental Program: Last term we continued the home program via recorded video and parents working with their children on the home program booklets. Families have been extremely supportive and engaged with this learning and teaching process which Fr. John, school staff and students have valued and appreciated. The actual celebrations will occur when able based on COVID arrangements. Our school religious education team will work with our parish, Fr. John and families to plan actual celebrations when possible.
Whole School Mass Events: Again COVID restrictions and student safety are considered with this event. Last term we recorded a liturgy and made it available in the classrooms. Fr. John leads the liturgy and senior students complete readings and prayers of the faithful. We will continue with this approach this term.
School Assembly: With current Covid19 guidelines in place large gatherings in confined spaces are not recommended, thus for Term 3 we will again hold assemblies off. Our senior student leaders will develop two assembly presentations via video and make them available to the school.
School Camps (Updated today Monday 13th July 2020)
As an update from earlier correspondence regarding our school camping programs I can now confirm the following.
Our governing authority, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) via the Catholic Education Office Ballarat have today just released an updated ‘Operations Guide’ for school programs in Term 3, 2020. In this document they have advised schools of the following:
This statement applies to all schools in Victoria until further notice:
- school camps cannot be held
- playgrounds should not be made available for community use
- Community groups are not permitted to use school facilities (indoor or outdoor).
With this above directive, we have this morning made the final decision to postpone our school camping program for 2020 and move it all to 2021, this includes the upcoming Grade 3 experience to be held at Kangaroobie, Princetown in a couple of weeks time.
I apologise for this sudden change and am especially conscious of the disappointment of our students. Fortunately, our relationship is strong with our venue partners Princetown, Melbourne City and Ballarat. They have all been very supportive and helpful. We are keen to return to these locations in 2021 all being well.
Our school finance program enables us to refund camp payments to families. The camp budget matches the cost of the program and can be credited back to families if the activity is not held, this will happen for this year.
Our camping experiences all build on each other. The program starts as an extended school hours experience in the Junior School, including one night environmental focus stay in the Middle school and leading to a two-night city experience in Melbourne (Civic & State Government focus) and Ballarat (Goldfields History focus). With the cancellation of the camping programs we have been investigating other local day excursions. Information will be available if these events are possible and safe.
Botanic Gardens Nature Play New Playground
Earlier this year the Warrnambool City Council supported ‘Friends of the Gardens’ planned, designed and submitted proposals for a new nature-based play space in the Botanic Gardens.
The project captured the attention of the community funding program ‘Pick My Project’. The projected approval hit obstacles at Heritage Victoria at which the Friends of the Gardens invited local communities to write and advocate for the project. The St. Joseph’s school community fully supported this initiative and 173 letters were written to heritage Victoria. The playspace was approved and construction began the last term.
The project has progressed well and is nearing completion. The playground can easily be seen from Botanic Road opposite our school and will truly be a great space for the community as well as adding community passive recreation. The playground has been designed with the heritage values of the gardens in mind as can be seen in this exert from the project design.
“The new play space is designed to ensure that design features typical of Guilfoyle’s style are respected, especially dramatic foliage, screening planting around the entrance, and a thoughtful direction of views to the lake. Lawn mounds flowing into and along the play space further tie it into the wider landscape and respond to the picturesque flow of the site”. (Pick My Project - Nature Based Play Space, Warrnambool Botanic Gardens).
Thank you for your ongoing support of all of our students and staff.
Michael Gray. Principal.
Happy Birthday to children celebrating their birthday this week.
Eva Scarborough, Edith Walsh, Charlotte Wythe, Ada Schultz, Archer Koch, Jobe Moloney and Archie Harle.
Happy Birthday to children who celebrated their birthday during the holidays.
Millicent Black, Sam Collins, Nathaniel Hansford, Billy Main, Ella Rodger, Ava Houlihan Lucy, Henare Da Ro, Ella Hall, Poppy Main, Rose Armitstead, Bodhi Lee, Cale Brereton, Logan Jones, Violet McKinley and Zavier Nelson.
Please mark the following Term 3 School Closure Days on your calendar.
Friday 14th August, 2020
Monday 7th September, 2020
A reminder that the Term 2 School Closure Day that was previously scheduled for Tuesday 23 June, 2020 has been postponed and this will now be a normal school day.
Parents can notify the school of an absence via phone or via the SZApp using the "absence" tile.
In the coming weeks you will notice that the absence link from the App will look a little different as we move towards the reporting of absences via PAM. Absences reported via PAM are directly linked to the classroom roll which eliminates the current system that requires double handling.
Note: You will need your PAM username and login to access PAM.
Please contact the school office if you require any assistance.
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.
School Banking has resumed for the term. Children can bring their bank books into school on a Monday and place them in the yellow tub at the office for processing. For this week we will accept bank books on Tuesday as well.
Update from the Commonwealth Bank regarding tokens
We understand students have missed the opportunity to earn tokens during this period and schools have missed the opportunity to earn contribution payments for their school. We are currently working through options to address this and will be in touch with you and your school very shortly.
A note regarding tokens
Could parents please remove all tokens from their child's bank books and note that we wont be placing any tokens in this term.The banking system we use automatically keeps track of the times a child has banked and highlights the students who are eligible for a reward. We will use this system during Term 3 to make it easier for the processing of rewards.
As I end my time as Director of Catholic Education, my heart is full of gratitude for the many blessings I have experienced as a member of our Diocesan Education Community for the last eight years. With this remarkable time in mind, I have expressed my thanks to you all in a short video that you are welcome to share with your community or team …
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” (Albert Schweitzer)
Thank you for keeping my flame alight in so many ways and for enabling me to hand over the next piece of our diocesan education story with such optimism for the future.
I will continue to hold you all in prayer …
With every blessing
Director of Catholic Education
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