Newsletter March 17, 2020
In this time of COVID-19, we pray:
When we aren't sure, God,
help us be calm;
when information comes
from all sides, correct and not,
help us to discern;
when fear makes it hard to breathe,
and anxiety seems to be the order of the day,
slow us down, God;
help us to reach out with our hearts,
when we can't touch with our hands;
help us to be socially connected,
when we have to be socially distant;
help us to love as perfectly as we can,
knowing that "perfect love casts out all fear."
For the doctors, we pray,
for the nurses, we pray,
for the technicians and the janitors and the
aides and the caregivers, we pray,
for the researchers and theorists,
the epidemiologists and investigators,
for those who are sick,
and those who are grieving, we pray,
for all who are affected,
all around the world...
May we feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and house those without homes;
may we walk with those who feel they are alone,
and may we do all that we can to heal
in spite of the epidemic,
in spite of the fear.
Help us, O God,
that we might help each other.
In the love of the Creator,
in the name of the Healer,
in the life of the Holy Spirit that is in all and with all,
May it be so.
Presently our world seems to be one of uncertainty and unpredictability. Initially from a very local level with Caine’s announcement last week that could create a feeling of uncertainty and a questioning around “Where will we get another teacher from at this time of the year”. Please be assured we will be advertising this position very shortly and we have already considered back ups plans and a range of options to ensure that learning for all in our community continues without interruption.
The postponement of the Ballan Autumn Festival and the decision not to attend the inter school sports at Mason’s Lane have combined to create an unsettling feeling in us all. Our regular or normal interactions at a social and physical level are being challenged.
At a broader level the coronavirus pandemic is creating a sense of panic and even fear as we see supermarket shelves being stripped bare as many in our society are stockpiling food essentials. While it is important for us all to be well prepared and to attempt to keep ourselves and our families safe, we also need to keep an eye and an ear out for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. For some within our community, they rely on social contact and support from others to assist in meeting their needs. We need to become creative yet thoughtful in the manner we continue to keep all within our community safe.
Food for thought: At a time when we are being reminded that hand washing with soap and water is the best protection against Coronavirus (COVID-19), we might pause to consider the three billion on the planet who, according to UNICEF and WHO, lack basic hand washing facilities and the 2.2 billion who lack safe drinking water. See https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/18-06-2019-1-in-3-people-globally-do-not-have-access-to-safe-drinking-water-unicef-who
This time can be especially overwhelming for our children. The following social story and links to further resources for children, may help them to better understand, offer some reassurance and ease anxiety.
Our school community is continuing to follow the national public health guidelines and current information from the Australian Chief Medical Officer and Victorian Chief Health Officer in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are following the Health Officer advice about effective hygiene and the Australian Bishops’ advice about celebrations of mass.
At this stage schools are to remain open, however this may change at any time. In preparation for the potential closure of schools, our staff have been busy working on home learning plans for the students. We would envisage posting these to Seesaw, so that they are accessible for all. The Seesaw app has been extremely proactive in setting up a new area directly as a result of coronavirus which allows for home learning to be posted.
In addition, we are aware that a number of families have elected to keep their children at home at this time. The teachers are keen for these children to also continue their learning, so they will be posting learning tasks and activities on Seesaw commencing tomorrow. It is hoped that all families will make the most of the extra planning the teachers are providing.
Earlier today our leadership team made decisions regarding any upcoming events we had timetabled in our calendar. Based on the advice received from the Catholic Education Commission and the Chief Health Officer, we provide a summary of what will be happening over the coming days if the school remains open.
Thursday March 19th
Shared St Patrick's Day
Friday March 20th
Monday March 23rd
Parent Teacher Interviews
Will go ahead as planned
Tuesday March 24th
Parent Teacher Interviews
Will go ahead as planned
Thursday March 26th
School Photo Day
Will go ahead as planned
Last Week of Term
School based Easter Liturgies
Friday March 27th
End of Term Assembly
Photo Day is fast approaching and at this stage will be going ahead. Personalised pre-pay school photo envelopes have been sent home with children. Each student will need to have their own individual envelope with them on the day (Thursday 26th March). If you would like a family photo, separate family envelopes are available from the school office.
A reminder also that all children are required to be in FULL summer school uniform for photos.
We will be conducting a number of Volunteer & Classroom Helper Program gatherings/meetings both before the end of this term and the beginning of next term. All teachers love having ‘helpers’ in their classroom to assist with a range of daily activities. Given that we have had further developments and changes to the requirements around child safety, unfortunately even if you have previously undertaken the requirements necessary to participate in classroom programs and activities in previous years, you will need to attend one of the meetings this year in order to meet the additional requirements for 2020 and beyond. The date for our initial briefing is as follows:
Thursday 16th April: 9.15 am and 2.30 pm
Last week we began organising and planning for our student leadership groups allowing the senior students to become more actively involved in decision making and sharing their views of aspects across a range of issues.
The leadership teams for 2020 are:
- Social Justice
- Student Engagement
We plan on conducting the Annual General Meeting of the St. Brigid’s Advisory Council on Tuesday 21st April at 7.00pm. This is an open meeting and all are invited and welcome. We thank all members of our School Advisory Council who are constantly working in the background providing advice and wisdom on a broad range of issues. In particular I acknowledge and thank Jodie Mullane who has concluded her time as a board member. With Jodie’s departure we now have a vacancy on our School Advisory Council, which is open to any parent or guardian of a child presently enrolled at St. Brigid’s. The process is one of self-nomination and the nomination forms can be found on PAM. If you would like further information regarding what these roles entail please feel free to come and have a chat with Gabe.
We will be conducting Parent Teacher Chats in the final week of term:
Monday 23rd March: 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 24th March: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The key intention of these chats is to give particularly yourselves as parents and carers the opportunity for you to share relevant information about your child/ren. Such a chat will allow both home and school to ensure that they are providing the greatest shared support for each child’s learning. It is assumed and expected that all families will make some time to meet with the teachers. Bookings are now open via PAM.
Establish healthy attendance patterns early!
Did you know…
Attendance patterns are established early.
A child who regularly misses days in kindergarten or in the early years of school will often continue to miss classes in the later years.
Students who miss school are highly likely to achieve lower results than their classmates.
It is vital that students go to school every day to give them the best chance to succeed in life.
|Friday 17th April||Hayley Plageman and Mickal Trinder|
|Friday 24th April||Jo Raffaele and Ange Myers|
|Friday 1st May||Simone Fordor and Joanne Muldeary|
|Saturday 21st March||Dunnstown||6:30pm|
|Sunday 22nd March||Gordon||8:45am|
|Sunday 22nd March||Ballan||10:30am|
|Saturday 28th March||Clarkes Hill||6:30pm|
|Sunday 29th March||Gordon||8:45am|
|Sunday 29th March||Ballan||10:30am|