Newsletter July 14, 2020
Lord, in times of national and international crises, we look to our elected leaders for guidance and protection. For many of them, the Covid-19 pandemic is like nothing they have ever seen or handled before. But if ever there was a time to lead, this is it.
Give our leaders humility and wisdom to learn from each other. Bless them with the empathy they need to understand our fears, the foresight they need to mitigate the consequences of the actions they must take, and the strength of character to lead us out of this crisis.
Guide them as they work. Inspire them to speak with words that persuade us to do what must be done, words that encourage us to keep going, words that inspire us to make the best of the situation we are in. As we place our trust in You, Lord, make them worthy of the trust we must place in them.
Dear Parents and families,
Welcome to Term Three. We know that our holidays were very different this year, but hopefully each family was able to be together and find some creative, interesting ways to entertain and discover more about each other. It was wonderful to see all of the children so happy to be returning to school - their enthusiasm and delight at catching up with their friends.
As we move into Term Three, at this stage we are very blessed and grateful that our students can continue to attend school on a daily basis, as we all acknowledge how challenging remote learning can be for students, parents and staff alike. However, we all need to take heed of the situation in metropolitan Melbourne and continue to stay safe and very cautious in our movement around Ballan and beyond. There is presently one active case of Covid-19 in the Moorabool Shire and we all have a responsibility to work to ensure this does not grow. In places such as Melton which is not that far from us, the situation is quite different, and so we need to seriously consider our need to be travelling into areas that have active cases. We do not want to see a return to remote learning so we all need to take responsibility.
As outlined in the letter sent out last week, we will continue to use the protocols put in place last term to ensure the health and safety of all within our community. This unfortunately does still include the fact that parents and all adults cannot enter the school grounds or buildings. We again recognise that this is somewhat challenging, so if you need to speak with any of our staff please do feel free to send them an email or seesaw message and they will contact you to discuss any issues or concerns you may have.
Welcome to Therese and Andrea who although not new to our staff and school, they are undertaking a new role, that of Year 5 and 6 teachers. We thank them for being prepared to be so flexible in taking over Caine’s position, as it ensures continuity of learning for the students and additionally means the children do not need to cope with a new teacher during these uncertain times.
Yesterday we welcomed Myrtle Louey, her mum Emma and younger brother to our school community. Myrtle has previously been attending Flemington Primary School, but has transferred to our school as it is closer to home. I know you will all assist in extending the welcome mat to them as they become members of our community.
As you may have heard through the media, one of the recommendations for students who are attending school in greater Melbourne because their parents are essential workers, is that the children’s temperature is being checked on entry to the school each morning. At this stage we do not intend to implement this protocol for all of our students. The advice to schools from the Victorian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brett Sutton is “children who are at all unwell are advised to be at home”, and schools and teachers should exclude unwell children who present to school.
We do ask for your support in regard to this issue. For the health and safety of all, we will be adhering very strictly to this advice. If your child appears unwell in any way we will be asking you to come and collect them from school. Please be aware that there may be a need or requirement to check children’s temperature as we move further into the term.
The media also has had much to say about the wearing of face masks, however Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has confirmed that the use of face masks or coverings by adults or children is not recommended in schools at this time. Unlike many public spaces and community settings, including public transport and supermarkets, schools are controlled settings where entry is restricted to only students, staff and those delivering essential school services where operations and transmission reduction measures can be fully supported and reinforced.
We did have a number of activities and events earmarked on our calendar for Term Three, unfortunately the following events have had to be cancelled at this time due to Covid -19 restrictions:
- Our Year 5 and 6 Camp - planned for Week 3 of this term
- Grandparents Day - planned for Thursday July 23rd
Events that we are still working on in regard to possibilities include:
- Face to Face program Support Group meetings
- Father’s Day
- Our Art Show (set in the calendar for Thursday 10th September)
- Face to Face Parent Teacher Interviews (set down for the last week of term)
We will keep you informed of any decisions made regarding these events.
Please be rest assured that fee relief is available for families requiring genuine fee support.
Please see the attached letter outlining the fee relief available, along with a Covid-19 Fee Relief Request Form and the Catholic schools Family Fee Assistance Scheme brochure for families holding a means tested Health Care Card, Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Veteran Affairs Pensioner Card.
Please return the form and/or a copy of your valid card to the office. Please contact Gabe or the office should you wish to discuss this further.
Attached to the newsletter is the latest drawing for the updating of our outdoor area. While the project has been delayed by challenges around both COVID 19 and budget, we are still very much working to a design that will improve the safety of our playground in a very significant way. This first stage includes: the removal of the large trees behind the church, excavation of the area, installation of significant retaining walls, repair and extension of the basketball court area, new fencing, repair and possible extension of the adventure playground and landscaping including tree planting of the upgraded space. Such steps will certainly improve not only the safety aspect of the grounds but the overall aesthetics of the space. Once these important safety aspects have been addressed we intend to develop a more complete Master Plan which will potentially include aspects such as upgrading the oval area and the installation of further shade sails all being future possibilities.
Currently, due to the recent increase in reported cases, places of worship can only open for the celebration of mass for up to 20 people in a single undivided space and this will stand until further notice. Therefore, if you would like to be one of the 20 attendees it is important that you register your name with the Parish Secretary on 0491 601 162 to book your place. Thank you to those parishioners who have embraced this routine by registering your attendance at each mass. We hope you are continuing to keep connected, safe and healthy and that we can all gather together as one community in the not too distant future.
Sacramental Program 2020
The Sacramental Program for the children of the Gordon Parish has been postponed for 2020. The Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation will be set to commence for all children in Year 4 and above in 2021. All forms and payments will be transferred to next year's program and dates for each of the Sacraments will be confirmed towards the end of 2020. Original baptism certificates can be returned on request or kept with the enrolment forms for next year. We are looking forward to continuing our Sacramental program in 2021.