Dear Parents and Caregivers
As you will all be aware the Department of Health and the Department of Education have implemented a range of coordinated actions for school principals. This week, I have met with all senior leaders and executive staff, and have had communications with all Shenton staff about our coordinated response to the Departmental advice, and our preparedness for temporary school closures. Please rest assured that we are well prepared for a temporary closure. The College has enhanced its hygiene measures and its level of communication. We have put on additional cleaners and have been proactive in our response to international travel and non-essential, mass gatherings. We are also a 14-hectare site and already have a staggered timetable with early starts, early closes and separate recess and lunch breaks. Shenton College has excellent network capability and outstanding network technicians. In a time of imposed social distancing, please let us not forget our moral values and our human responsibility to care for others. Please also be aware that during heightened states of concern and anxiety, we, as adults, need to be mindful of how our actions impact on our children.
What international tours will go ahead this Year at Shenton?
None. We had previously stopped all international travel to all countries other than New Zealand. Today, Shenton College will cancel its participation in the Music tour to New Zealand. Parents will be fully reimbursed any collected funds.
What other events are you cancelling or postponing?
As you would be aware, the Australian Government has announced that all organised, non-essential, mass gatherings attended by more than 500 people must be cancelled. Shenton College has put additional measures to enhance safety and well-being. We had added enhanced hygiene measures across all areas of the College. Today our School Response team put in place some additional social distancing measures and cancelled or postponed a number of large, non-essential, non-curricula events:
- All Year Assemblies postponed until further notice
- 20/03/2020 Interschool swimming cancelled
- Term 1 and Term 2 all interschool sports cancelled
- 25/03/2020 Year 12 UWA, alternative entry events postponed
- 26/03/2020 P&C AGM – postponed to Term 2, Week 3
- 30/03/2020 Year 7 Big Day out to UWA Sports –postponed
- 02/04 /2020 Year 10 Perth Science & Engineering Challenge at Claremont Showgrounds – cancelled
- 02/04/ 2020 Year 10 RAC Streetsmart – cancelled
- 03/04/2020 Charity Day – postponed to Term 4
Shenton College has also taken the additional step to advised all external providers and external users of the College site after school hours, that no external use, no matter the size, will occur until further notice. We are also trying to reschedule some non-essential, non-curriculum events like our school Photography Day.
What is the school doing to prepare for a possible temporary closure?
A lot. Each area of responsibility has considered and tested their readiness to adapt and deliver curricula, utilising existing systems, without face-to-face options. Compass is, and will continue to be, our default College delivery platform. Compass will be used for sharing lesson plans and other lesson resources. Teachers are testing individual student’s email access and are considering additional e-platforms to support remote learning. Teachers have been proactive in testing student logins. Our network team have been looking at how we maintain the platform remotely to ensure reliable bandwidth at periods of high demand. If we close, your child’s teachers will communicate via Compass. If your child does not have access to Compass at home, they need to inform their teachers and their teachers will consider alternative paper resources to support your child’s learning during a temporary closure.
In summary what is the College doing to support my child?
- We have been contingency planning for a temporary school closure for over a month.
- Each area of responsibility has testing their readiness to deliver across existing systems without face-to-face options.
- Compass will be our default college delivery platform.
- Assessments will need to be, and are being, modified. We are doing all we can to ensure that students will not be disadvantaged.
- We have conducted a brief audit on who can’t access Compass from home so that we can plan for this eventuality. Some parents and some students are not using this platform and need to contact their individual teachers so we can assist them.
- Some additional resources are being scanned and uploaded. Specifically, the key learnings.
- Students need to ensure they establish an email link with their teacher. They should ensure they have tested this link.
- In circumstances where individual parents withdraw their children from school, without a direction from government/principal, there is no Departmental requirement for teachers to provide additional work/lessons for those students. However, we are well aware that some parents are responsibly keeping their child at home and we will endeavour to support all children through our Compass learning platform.
As parents how can we support our child in the case of a temporary school closure?
Remain objective, calm, supportive and informed. We all need to plan for the possibility of a temporary school closure. Closure could last for anything between 1 and 14 days, potentially longer. Closures could back on to school holidays. Parents need to be aware that only the Minister or Principal of Shenton College will communicate closure or pending closure and this will be communicated via Compass, SMS and Mailchimp to all parents. Parents and caregivers should ensure that they have up-to-date records on Compass, as we will be using this platform to communicate. During this time of heightened anxiety, can I ask that parents keep all email communication to a minimum and only if it is essential. Shenton College has establish a feedback email@example.com. This email will be monitored; however please expect delays. Parents should also be aware that if Shenton College is required to close we will not be able to run a timetabled curriculum. Learning activities, resources, and assessments will all be modified and students will need to take responsibility for completion and engagement.
What should I say to my child about COVID-19?
Misinformation spreads fear. Life is ten percent what you experience, and ninety percent how you respond to it. During these times, many of us will show signs of anxiety. Below is a link to a Michael Carr-Greg (Senior Psychologist) video that may be useful for parents in how to support their children in these times. We seem to be currently in a time devoid of facts and full of negatives. Highlighting positive, and factual information will help to reduce anxiety and unnecessary worry.