am sure you will have heard Scott Morrison’s announcement of new regulations
and guidelines for the next week. The government is following the advice of the
chief medical officer and other health experts who have significant expertise
in this area. Their aim is not to stop the virus but to flatten the bell curve
of infection. Schools have an important role to play in this.
has announced that for the moment schools will remain open. The government
view, backed by medical expertise, is that closing schools at this point in
time could negatively impact the flattening of the bell curve. As Morrison
noted, closing schools will cause significant disruption to parents and
guardians, who include doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession who
have a vital role to play in fighting this virus. It will also significantly
affect the ability of teachers to continue teaching their students. Having
thousands of teenagers out of school also poses a challenge to containing the
confirm that tomorrow St Catherine’s will be open. Girls should go straight to
class for their first two lessons. After period 2 they will be advised about
what they should do during morning tea, academic care time and lunch.
have a senior team that meets regularly to assess this unfolding situation. The
team is meeting tomorrow at 7.30am. We will continue to follow government and
medical advice, as well as undertake our own risk analysis in all the decisions
we make. Our focus tomorrow will be:
Ensuring our teaching continues but
paring back all non-essential activities and events. We will look at
each one in turn and either cancel, postpone or find alternative ways to
continue the activity/event.
Maximising social distancing. We
will ask everyone to avoid shaking hands and hugging and to, as far as
possible, keep 1.5 metres away from each other.
Looking for ways that we can
minimise the mixing between classes and year groups. Assemblies, house
meetings and chapels that involve more than one year group have been
cancelled. We will also put in place plans to minimise the mixing of
year groups at morning tea and lunch times.
Ensuring that visitors do not enter
the school as far as is possible.
Reviewing our after-school care
processes and holiday programs.
the meeting I will update you on the decisions we have made. The current advice
is that it is safer to have children in school than out of school. We
will do everything we can to make sure the school environment is as safe as
possible for everyone.
we all know, advice is changing on a daily basis, and we will keep you abreast
of the decisions we make as the week unfolds. At some point the medical experts
may decide it is best for schools to close. We are prepared for that should it
is a team effort and the more vigilant we all are about hygiene precautions and
social distancing, the more we can control the timing of the spread of the
you for your ongoing support in these difficult times.
Dr Julie Townsend