COVID-19 update – NSW Premier encourages students to stay home
As you would be fully aware, information and advice in relation to how schools (and other organisations) are required to deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 scenario is constantly being updated. Our School Leadership Team has been carefully monitoring all available sources of information to ensure that we are able to develop the most accurate understanding of this situation that is possible. On Friday afternoon, I participated in a national teleconference involving 100 CSA (Christian Schools Australia) schools as we received the latest COVID-19 briefing from our CEO and Director of Public Policy. This ‘monitoring’ process has continued throughout this weekend and again today.
In the past 24 hours there have been a number of significant statements made by both our Prime Minister and NSW Premier, especially in relation to the operation of schools moving forward. Yesterday evening, the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, delivered an update to the nation after the conclusion of a meeting of the National Cabinet, comprising state premiers and chief ministers. Aspects of this update referred directly to the operation of Australian schools. In part the media release stated’ ‘…schools will remain open through to the end of the current school terms to support students whose parents choose to send their children to school.’ Just this morning at 8am our NSW Premier, Ms. Berejiklian, provided a further update for parents and carers in relation to school attendance. She clearly stated, ‘We are encouraging parents to keep their children at home.’ She indicated that this was in accordance with the most recent advice from health authorities. She also added, ‘We appreciate for some parents that is not possible, so schools will remain open.’
Many NCS parents/carers have already made the decision to keep their children home from school today and it is our expectation that many more of you will make such a decision tomorrow or in the coming days. As stated in my letter, dated 13 March, our staff have for some time now been carefully preparing alternative methods for educational delivery. These methods are specifically designed to accommodate the learning needs of students who are located off-site. In her media briefing this morning, Ms. Berejiklian indicated that there will now be one single unit of teaching for children at home and at school. She stated, ‘There won’t be a separate class for kids at home, there won’t be a separate class for kids at school…which makes it simple and practical.’ This is the model of lesson delivery that we will now implement at Nowra Christian School. The school will also move to a structure whereby a smaller number of staff will be present at school while others work from home.
NCS is a K-12 school and, as such, delivery methods and content will be tailored in age-appropriate ways. For your clarification, I have provided two very important attachments with this letter. These provide specific information in relation to how our alternative lesson delivery processes will operate. One attachment is relevant to students who are in Primary and the other for students in Secondary. Of course, I am aware that many of our school families will have children located at both the Primary and Secondary levels. During this week, we will begin the process of transitioning to these new delivery formats. I ask that you please be patient with teachers as we make this transition, as I am sure you will understand, this is a major undertaking and there are likely to be a few ‘bumps’ along the way.
During this time, we are still required to monitor students’ attendance. For this reason, please complete this Term 1 Attendance Intentions Form, as soon as possible, to indicate whether your child will be attending school or engaging in learning from home for the remainder of Term 1. If you have more than one child, please complete a separate form for each child.
We continue to be thankful for the strong support that we have received from our NCS parents and carers. I have been greatly encouraged that, during these challenging times, the strength of the partnership between home and school has been clearly evident.
Finally, I would wish to state that many Christian organisations have been reminding their members of the importance of prayer during such a confronting time. As Principal of Nowra Christian School, I would add my personal encouragement to this call to prayer. We serve a great God Who has been faithful to our school community throughout the past 40 years. Be assured that our God knows the beginning from the end and He has not been taken by surprise in relation to current events.
If you have any concerns relating to this matter please email firstname.lastname@example.org and your enquiry will be directed to the appropriate person.
Kind regards, Mr Rob Bray Principal