As restrictions have continued to be lifted and the majority of our students have now returned to classroom learning, it has been heartening to see the excitement of students and teachers alike as our school buzzes with life.
While it has been challenging for all in our community to adapt to the ongoing changes, there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the leadership and shared community responsibility that has meant that children can return to school and that we can all begin to enjoy time together again.
We hope that you have felt supported to decide whether to send your daughter to school or to engage in their learning from home, depending on your own family’s circumstances. Our school staff have certainly done their very best to deliver a quality Catholic education to all our students, irrespective of whether they were being taught at school or at home.
Since the start of Term Two, we have been actively planning for all students to return to classroom learning as soon as recommended by Government and health authorities. As the health and safety of all our students and staff is our highest priority, we have now introduced a range of sustainable cleaning, hygiene and safety measures and have made some changes to our school practices that are designed to minimise risks of COVID-19 transmission in our school environment now and into the future.
On 11 May, following a comprehensive School Readiness Review of all Catholic schools in Western Australia, Catholic Education Western Australia has determined that Catholic schools across the State will return to classroom teaching and learning for all students from Monday 18 May. This means that students are required to attend school from Monday 18 May unless they are unwell or have a medical referral to continue their learning from home.
This recommendation aligns with the latest advice from both State and Commonwealth Governments and has been made with the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and our whole community as the first priority.
Students may continue to learn from home if they, or a member of their immediate family, are immune-compromised or are otherwise considered at-risk medically. Parents who plan to keep their children home to continue learning remotely are asked to please contact Student Services. These students will continue to be supported by school staff; however from 18 May, these students will not be engaged in online learning through TEAMs as face-to-face learning is occurring in the classroom.
Students who are unwell should stay at home. Parents are asked to seek medical advice if their daughter exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. Mercedes College processes for advising the school of a child’s absence will continue to apply. Whilst physical distancing is not mandated for students in schools, students are actively encouraged to do so wherever practical. Physical distancing is still a requirement for all adults. Green ribbons are available from Student Services to any students who would like to wear one as a reminder that there are vulnerable people within the College community.
If your daughter is worried about attending school due to COVID-19, please remember you can find resources prepared by CEWA’s Psychology Team here https://covid19.cewa.edu.au/wellbeing/. These may assist in supporting your daughter at this time, and we would encourage you to speak to your daughter’s homeroom teacher if you have concerns about how they are coping with being back at school or would like to know more about support available.
For Year 12 students, the 2020 ATAR course written examinations will go ahead as scheduled from 2 November. Written examinations will take the same form as previous years, with a three-hour duration.
Whole school assemblies, camps and interschool activities will still not be permitted. Advisory Council, P & F and other parent gatherings may resume after school hours for up to 20 people where physical distancing and enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols are observed.
Drop off and pick up arrangements that restrict parents and carers, and non-essential visitors, from entering school grounds remain in place. These arrangements will be reviewed as part of Phase 3 of the McGowan Government’s WA roadmap.
Due to many requests to be able to purchase uniform items the following arrangements have been put in place whilst the College Wear Shop is closed:
- Uniform orders may be placed by phone directly to the College Wear Shop on 93231388 on Mondays and Wednesday between 10:30am – 1:00pm.
- Payment is by credit card only and paid orders will be sent to Student Services for students to collect.
- Unfortunately, as recently stated, trying on of items during the present climate is not permitted for health reasons. As a result of this no exchanges or refunds will be possible.
I am certain you share our staff’s joy and gratitude that our students are able to return to school to resume classroom learning together. As members of our College community, we ask that you join us in continuing to pray for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at home and abroad.
Kerrie Fraser, Principal