Phased return to school (Week 5)

Dear Parents/Carers,

It is now almost two weeks since I wrote my last letter, outlining the first two phases of our NCS return to school timetable. Once again, I would wish to convey the gratitude of our entire staff team for the manner in which you have continued to provide your support and encouragement as we have embarked on the careful process of gradually transitioning back to an onsite learning model. My previous letter was very detailed and I would again draw your attention to key information contained there that is still directly relevant to our current school context, especially in relation to Week 4 arrangements.

At the time of writing this letter, we have now almost completed the first three weeks of Term 2. I have been delighted with the manner in which students and parents have responded to the various requests that we have made of you. On a number of occasions, both at drop-off and pick-up times, I have stationed myself near the ‘Kiss and Drop’ zone and have been most appreciative of the prompt manner in which parents and carers have entered and departed our school grounds. In a relational community, such as NCS, it is always tempting to converse with others but you have resisted this temptation, understanding that there is a real need to maintain physical distancing protocols at this time.

Phase 1 (Weeks 3 & 4 from 11 May to 22 May)Adjustment to program for Senior (HSC) students Please note that, after closely monitoring the successful return of our HSC students for three days per week for the initial three weeks, it has been decided to commence full-time on-site lesson delivery for these students as of the beginning of Week 4 (next week). We are aware that this is a vitally important year for our HSC students. Consequently, after careful consideration, we believe that it is now in the best interests of these students to commence full-time school attendance one week earlier than originally planned.

Phase 2 (Week 5 – 25 May to 29 May) This current letter is primarily intended to provide clarification in relation to Phase 2 of our return to school program, covering Week 5 only. (It will be my intention to provide more details regarding Phase 3 in the near future.) Once again, we have made NCS-specific modifications to the 5-Phase diagram developed by the NSW Education Department. This diagram provides a helpful dot-point summary of the key changes that will occur in relation to student attendance at NCS during Week 5. (See attached.) However, it is important that I again reiterate that NCS will continue to provide on-site supervision for the ‘children for whom no suitable care arrangements are available at home to support their learning’ as has been stipulated by both our State and Federal governments.

More specific details are provided below regarding when various year groups will be receiving on-site (at school) learning during Phase 2 (Week 5).

Primary: Infants (K-2) will continue full-time on-site learning (as was the case in Week 4) Years 3-6 students will have on-site learning for two days this week (organised alphabetically, according to surname):

  • Monday and Tuesday (A-K)

  • Wednesday and Thursday (L-Z)

Secondary: All students will follow their school timetables.

  • Stage 4 (Years 7 & 8) – Wednesday and Thursday on-site learning

  • Stage 5 (Years 9 & 10) – Monday and Tuesday on-site learning

  • Seniors (Years 11 & 12) – full-time on-site learning (as was the case in Week 4)

On all other occasions, students will be located either at home or at school (Rooms 24 & 25) completing online learning.

Some important reminders I indicated above that my previous letter, dated 30 April, contained a great deal of important information that is still of direct relevance to our current return to school program. One significant paragraph included the following reminder: ‘Both the Federal and NSW governments are providing regular briefings in relation to the COVID-19 scenario. We are being continually reminded that the situation that we are facing is a very fluid one where all areas are being carefully monitored. The arrangements outlined in this letter are clearly subject to review, should circumstances warrant any further adjustment.’ This reminder is still directly applicable to the current situation.

Other information referred to the operation of the school canteen and the wearing of school uniforms. I also provided numerous dot-points related to general student hygiene considerations and some safety advice for parents and carers. It will not be my intention to repeat all of these details here and you might therefore consider re-reading my previous letter. However, I would again remind you of one important way in which you can greatly assist us during this demanding time. As has always been the case, if your child is displaying any signs of possible illness, please ensure that you keep them home until they are fully recovered. In this way, you will be helping us to ensure that NCS can continue to provide a healthy teaching and learning environment for both students and staff.

1 Thessalonians 5: 17 reminds us to ‘pray continually’. Consequently, please continue to uphold our NCS community, and our wider community, in your prayers as we seek God’s wisdom and direction throughout this challenging time in world history. Obviously this is an anxious time for all of us and particularly so for our young people as they are continually confronted with stark news about the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1 Peter 5: 7, we are provided with a remarkably simple strategy regarding how to deal with such feelings of anxiety. This verse states ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.’ This is the good news that we have to share with our children that our God is not indifferent to the situation that we find ourselves in. He is a God of love and He cares deeply for each one of us.

Kind regards, Mr Rob Bray Principal

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