Crisis Management: COVID-19
19 May 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers
From Monday May 25, all students are expected to return to school full-time. Our survey data has shown us that the vast majority of families plan to send their child/ren back to school for face-to-face learning. We understand that some families may choose to continue with remote learning. We will continue to provide opportunities to learn online through Landscape, however, nothing can replace face-to-face learning in the classroom. From Week 5 essential content and links to resources will be available online but the depth of online engagement will reduce to reflect the transition back to school.
There is not an option to learn at school on some days and at home on other days.
If you wish to have your child/ren continue to learn remotely, you will need to register via the link below by 10.00am on Thursday May 20.
Registration for online learning allows us to plan for the needs of our community. From Week 5, rolls will be marked at the beginning of each day for those present on campus. Students who have registered to continue learning remotely will be marked as ‘learning from home’ by engaging online. All other students will be marked as absent.
If your family is required to self-isolate due to contact with a confirmed case of the virus you can contact the Heads of School directly to arrange a period of online learning.
Thank you for your ongoing support of learning during the past weeks. While we may have enjoyed some of the innovation around remote learning, we are delighted to have our students coming back to campus. We’re keen to hold on to the creativity, adaptability and resilience that has emerged during these challenging times. We look forward to working with you as we establish our ‘new normal’.
Mrs Deb Cooper Principal
14 May 2020
COVID-19 Management Plan
● Physical distancing is maintained where practical in all learning spaces and in the playground.
● Staff are required to observe physical distancing protocols in offices, classrooms and staff rooms.
● Assemblies, chapel and large group activities are cancelled until further notice. These activities are available in an online format.
●Queuing and congregating is discouraged.
● Hand sanitiser is available in all classrooms, offices and staff rooms.
● Hand-soap and paper towels are available in bathrooms.
● Regular, prolonged hand-washing is encouraged.
● Students are encouraged to avoid physical contact and the sharing of equipment.
● Additional cleaning has been implemented in all classrooms, offices and bathrooms.
● High-touch surfaces are being cleaned and sanitised regularly.
● Rooms are well-ventilated if possible.
● Personal protective equipment is used in practical subjects.
● Non-essential adults are not permitted to enter the campus.
● Essential adults visitors are being screened and temperature taken before entering campus.
● Parents are encouraged to use the kiss-and-drop zone and carline to limit adults on campus.
● Students and staff with a cough, a temperature or flu-like symptoms must stay home.
● Excursions, camps and large sporting events are postponed or cancelled.
8 May 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers This week we have seen increasing attendance on campus as a result of easing restrictions and parents returning to work. Thank you to the majority of parents who took the time to complete our short survey. Your responses show us that while most families are keen for us to resume face-to-face delivery of learning as quickly as possible, a significant number of families would prefer a staged return to school. Unlike state schools, we have more flexibility in responding to the needs of our community and believe that we can map a path that caters for the diversity of needs and wishes expressed by our community. Schools are considered to be safe places where the risk of transmission between children and from children to adults is considered to be very low. We have also implemented a range of safety protocols aimed to further minimise the risk.
As mentioned in our previous communication, we will release our plans for only the coming two weeks, which allows us the flexibility to adapt and align with Government and health advice as well as the needs of our community.
The following tables show the days that we will be offering face-to-face learning for specific class groups. These days will involve class teachers meeting with their students following the regular school timetable. An outline of learning activities for these days will be available through Landscape, however, teachers will be focusing on the students present in the classroom during the school day. While attendance is encouraged, it is not mandatory during this transition period.
Students are welcome to attend school on non-scheduled days where they will be supervised to complete their learning online.
Week 5 and Beyond
Assuming that the transmission of the virus remains very low in the community, and community restrictions continue to be lifted, we expect to increase days of attendance for face-to-face teaching so that we can be back to full-time as soon as possible. We will assess the situation in Week 3 in order to give you notice of our intentions for Week 5 and 6.
Will remote learning through Landscape continue to be an option?
Yes. We respect your right to keep your child learning from home and Landscape will continue to provide outlines of learning activities and links to resources. As most students return to campus, the focus will need to be on teaching students in the classroom. Teachers will continue to ensure that all students have the opportunity to meet syllabus outcomes.
We appreciate that the COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in a challenging time for parents as you have assisted with the transition with children learning at home. We also understand that many of our families are under increased financial pressure due to these restrictions. Our focus is to ensure continuity of learning for students. We will continue to support our school families and provide stability in the face of financial challenges and uncertainty.
We continue to provide additional flexibility in timing of payments and financial assistance for families most impacted. To further assist parents, we want to advise the following:
We will be reducing net Term 2 fees by 10% for all families not receiving other forms of fee assistance. This will be applied to fee statements over the coming few weeks and the updated fee statements will be sent to families. This will be applied and held as a credit on accounts or can be refunded to families on application.
For major camps which involve Years 5 to Year 12, there are a number of camps that have had to be postponed or cancelled due to restrictions. Given continued uncertainty about when restrictions will be lifted, we are yet to confirm whether these camps will be rescheduled or cancelled. This will be assessed over the coming term. It is our intention to return any unused camp funds to families as a reduction to fees where their child’s year camp will not proceed. While there has been some confusing media reporting, Avondale School has not received any additional funds from Government assistance, nor do we anticipate any. In full transparency, we are at a slight financial disadvantage to some smaller schools that may have received additional funding which can be passed on to parents. Meanwhile, our costs of operation during this transition period have increased as we support learning at home through investments in technology and accommodate learning at school with heightened hygiene and cleaning.
The support we are providing for parents is funded from operating surplus which exists for investment back into the School. We believe that at this time it is important to support our school families as best as possible. We have chosen to focus on supporting families rather than focus on the bottom line.
What will happen next?
Information is changing rapidly, however we expect to return to full-time school for most students during the coming weeks. We remain committed to assisting those families who, due to unique family circumstance (vulnerable health conditions in the home, nature of parent employment etc), who will still require that their children remain home longer than the majority of students. These situations will be dealt with on a case by case basis and whilst the school will return to regular face to face teaching, remote learning through Landscape will continue to be available for those who need to learn from home.
We expect all of our students on campus to be in a complete and correct uniform. Currently this could be full summer uniform, full winter uniform or full sports uniform. Please note that hoodies are not an acceptable part of any of these uniforms and cannot be worn for safety reasons on campus. We expect all students to be in full winter uniform from Week 5 onwards.
The Uniform Shop is open during their normal in-term hours, on Mondays and Wednesdays, 8.00 - 10.00am and 2.30 - 5.30pm. You can also purchase school uniforms online.
Thank you for working with us to achieve the best possible outcomes for our students. We acknowledge that our current situation is hard on everyone. To all of our school mums, thank you for being amazing! We wish you a happy Mothers’ Day.
Deb Cooper Principal
1 May 2020
Welcome to Term 2. Our teachers are enjoying engaging on campus and online with all of our students, however, we’re looking forward to having our students back on campus. Our teachers have worked tirelessly over the break to make their Landscape pages more consistent and user-friendly. We hope this improves learning engagement during this term as we provide continuity of learning during the phase of gradual transition back to face-to-face learning.
In developing a plan for the transition back to on-campus, we are endeavouring to align our plan with both the advice of the relevant Government agencies and the needs of our school community.
Week 2 of term will continue with all students engaging in remote delivery of learning through Landscape. Students whose parents are working may be supervised on campus as they engage in remote learning. Year 12s have been invited to attend for practical subjects and for full days on Thursday and Friday where they will connect with each of their teachers.
In transitioning back to campus, priority has been placed on returning our youngest students and our senior students. Due to the changing advice from Government agencies we will release our attendance schedule in 2 week blocks. It is our goal to eventually have our students back on campus full time as soon as it is safe to do so.
Weeks 3 & 4 of Term 2 we will be inviting Year Levels to attend on specific days so that their teachers can use the day to maximum advantage for direct instruction, feedback on learning progress and individual assistance. Should it be necessary for siblings to attend school on the same day, they may attend to be supervised with remote learning on a non-specified day. Students with working parents may continue to attend as they currently do.
Here is our Schedule:
Week 2, May 4 - 8
Most students learn from home while children with working parents or students whose learning cannot be supported at home are supervised on campus. Thursday and Friday - Year 12 on campus.
Please note that this outline may change dependent upon Government advice
If you choose to continue to keep your child learning from home, Landscape will continue to provide remote learning. On the days that classes are scheduled to be at school, basic outlines will be provided for those continuing at home.
The return of students to onsite learning includes the maintenance of the following conditions:
Management of students who are unwell
Current health advice for families with students who are unwell (temperature at or above 37.9 or with respiratory symptoms) is for those students to be kept at home and under no circumstances should they be sent to school. In circumstances where a student presents at school when they are unwell or develops flu-like symptoms throughout the day, families will be asked to collect them immediately. This advice is not based on the assumption that a student presenting with flu-like symptoms does, in fact, have COVID-19, but rather is a proactive measure to ensure that in the worst case scenario, the risk of secondary infections is greatly reduced.
Risk Management Measures
Hand sanitiser in all classrooms Hand soap in all bathrooms and at classroom sinks Deep cleaning of classrooms and high-touch surfaces Spacing in classrooms and cross ventilation where possible No gatherings such as assemblies or chapels Use of outdoor spaces where possible Use of physical distancing where practicable No sharing of equipment Extra hygiene measures and PPE in practical subjects No non-essential adults on campus Pickups and dropoffs with parents staying in the car Screening of essential on-site visitors Thank you for your patience and support over the past weeks and for working with us to flatten the curve. While we still face uncertain times ahead, we will continue to work towards returning our students safely to campus. Your children are our highest priority and our desire is to work with you to support their learning and wellbeing. We pray for each of our families and encourage you to let us know if we can support you in any way.
Our greatest strength comes from God. Whatever we face, we can rely on Him. God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Deb Cooper Principal
14 April 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers
I hope you managed to enjoy the Easter weekend in lock-down. Family connections, even via phone, FaceTime or Zoom, are restorative and precious!
Based on feedback from parents and students, we are refining our delivery on ‘at home supported learning’ via Landscape. All our teachers will be completing online training to maximise the benefits of Landscape as a learning platform. Part of this is to establish a consistency of delivery across the school to provide easier access to classwork for parents and students, as well as a more seamless way for completed work to be submitted and feedback provided. We look forward to building greater accountability for remote learning as we move into Term 2.
To allow teachers time to modify their pages, Landscape will go offline at 4.00pm this Thursday April 16. If your child/ren require access to Term 1 learning resources before the start of Term 2, we advise that you download these prior to Friday. We also strongly encourage families to take a break from formal learning during the holidays in order to build wellbeing. Spend time engaging in social connection, creative pursuits and physical activity.
Please remember that we have moved 2 pupil free days from the beginning of Term 3 to the beginning of Term 2. This means that Monday April 27 and Tuesday April 28 are now pupil free. If you are required to work in an essential service and have no other option for childcare, your child/ren can be cared for at school on these pupil free days. Term 2 will officially start on Wednesday April 29. We expect that most students will continue to engage with learning remotely during Term 2. The school campus will remain open for students with working parents and for students whose learning cannot be adequately supported from home.
At Avondale School we talk often about developing resilience and adaptability in our students. The current situation requires said resilience and adaptability from all of us. As we learn to do things differently, adapt to changing information and conditions, and strive to overcome challenges, we demonstrate our resilience and strength. Let’s work together to show our students the power of collaboration, determination and a positive attitude.
Wishing you all a safe and restful break.
Deb Cooper Principal
6 April 2020
Dear Year 12 Parents and Caregivers
Surviving life as a parent of Year 12 students is a challenge at the best of times, so we know that the current circumstances are more than challenging for you and your child. Please know that we are 100% committed to supporting your child to successfully navigate the 2020 school year. The goal posts have moved but many things remain the same. Our students are already familiar with Landscape and the use of their school laptop and these will become their most important tools as they move forward.
We are hearing that our students are struggling with accessing information. We will do our best to make this easy from our end, but we believe that like anything new, they will adapt quickly to online communication. We are seeking to deliver a balance of Zoom classes to deliver explicit instruction and to allow for discussion and questions, and time for students to work independently. Teachers are available on email, phone and via Zoom for individual questions, support and help.
As for HSC information, NESA is due to release further information this week. There are currently many proposals being considered to ensure that students are able to successfully complete the year and move into their chosen pathway for 2021. One thing that is clear is that universities, already impacted by the loss of overseas students, will be seeking to offer new and expansive pathways into university courses for the current Year 12 cohort. The skills that our students are learning right now will set them up for success in university also.
This week we will be sending out a short survey to help us better understand the needs of each student. This will help us shape Term 2 ‘at home supported learning’ to best fit the needs of our diverse student cohort. Please know that we are happy for students and parents to reach out for help and support.
We always prioritise the wellbeing of our students particularly during Year 12. This has become more challenging for us without many of them on campus. Mrs Krista Richards, the Year 12 Year Advisor, is doing a great job of connecting with students and providing information, encouragement and support. Our counsellors, chaplains and support staff are all able to connect with your child to provide specific support.
While the overall recommendation from the Government is for students to learn from home if possible, you are welcome to send your Year 12 student to school if you believe that their learning is better supported on campus. Currently we have several senior students on campus each day and they are working with supervision in the iCentre. This allows for a structured, supported work environment, along with the opportunity for some face to face contact (with distancing of course!) with teachers and peers.
Important information specifically for Year 12 students, (some information was already sent out in the Fact Sheet on 25 March 2020, other information is new): Term 1 Exam Block: As students know, the Year 12 Exam Block for this week was cancelled a few weeks ago. Individual teachers will communicate with their class regarding how they might still have an opportunity to do a practice exam.
VET Exams: The VET exams (Hospitality, Construction and Automotive) were NESA tasks. Please remember that VET HSC results are based fully on their HSC exam. The estimate that teachers will send into NESA is only used if a student (for whatever reason) does not attend the HSC exam. Their estimate will now be based on their Trial Exam.
Trial Exams: At this stage, Trial exams will be going ahead. Obviously, we will need to adhere to advice given by higher authorities. We will keep you posted if this information changes.
Practical Work: Senior students working on major works may be given materials to work with at home. Any resource packages, in terms of materials, will be provided by the school if prior arrangements are made. Video conferencing is a useful tool that assists students who are remote learning. Students may now connect with their teacher to address techniques and or aspects of the project's detail.
Subject to restrictions and advice given by relevant authorities, teachers may offer students the opportunity to work on campus with parent permission. Work Placement: VET Work Placement has been cancelled.
HSC: The HSC is still going ahead. NESA has given individual school principals and/or school system authorities the power to decide on the number and weighting of in-school assessments. Any assessment amendments have been listed on the Year 12 Year Advisor’s page. We will keep the students updated on any further changes.
Catch-up Days: Based on some student/parent feedback, this Wednesday and Thursday have been slated as ‘catch-up’ days and no new work will be given. If tasks have already been set for those days, they will go ahead.
Zoom Classes: These are being run at different times and students will be expected to attend when possible. They are of great benefit for students and a great way to stay connected and ask questions.
Where to go for help:
Thank you for your continued support.
Kind regards Julie Carter Director of Learning Hayley Ferris Head of Secondary Gary Marsters Assist. Head of Secondary Principal Deb Cooper
23 March 2020
Dear Secondary Parents and Caregivers
We realise you may still have many questions as to what school currently looks like. So we have created a fact sheet with ‘what's happening in the Secondary School’ to give you some clarity.
Where is Check-In?
For those on campus, from Thursday, Check-In will be in the following spacious locations: Year 7 & 8 in the CLC, Year 9 & 10 in the English Hub, Year 11 & 12 in the iCentre. Following Check-In, students will remain in these locations to engage in their online learning experiences.
How does school attendance get recorded?
What if students are sick?
They need to stay at home. If students come to school ill or begin to display symptoms, the School will work to return them home.
What does a daily timetable look like?
Students at school will be working from the Online Delivery Timetable. They can find their Timetable on the Year Advisor’s Landscape page. Time for morning tea, lunch and exercise should be factored in. In the new collapsed timetable, we are providing all students access to specialist teachers during the times listed. If students are working from home, teachers may request an online conference, along with the students at school, for that subject during this time. It is important to note that students are required to complete all their set work, but they are not restricted to doing it during the times set in the Online Delivery Timetable.
How do students get their work?
Students can have access to their classwork on Landscape. If there are any challenges in accessing the content, students are asked to contact their teacher. We ask students to remember to bring their headphones to school. Students will need to use headphones to listen to content and connect with their teachers as needed.
How is Zoom to be used?
If students are required to be in a Zoom meeting, they will be notified by their teachers. Parents are required to let the school know if they do not give permission for that to occur. Students need to seek parental advice on an appropriate location for the Zoom conference to take place.
Students are reminded that the Zoom platform is provided for teachers and students to connect for educational purposes. Students are only to access Zoom once they have parent permission when a teacher has asked them to be available. Outside these times they are asked not to use Zoom. Chats between students disrupt learning environments. For this reason students are asked to not use Zoom as a chat platform.
How should students use the School device at home?
The School device is provided for educational purposes. We would advise parents and remind students that each student is to use the device as directed in the Avondale School Acceptable Tech Use Agreement. In practical terms, while at home, the supervision of the device and its use is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. Students are to ensure all communication is appropriate and respectful. Finally, students are asked to exercise good cybersafe practices and should report any experience of negative behaviours to their parents or School Administration.
How do students contact their teachers?
Teachers will be contactable from 8.50am to 4.00pm each day. Students are to ensure they connect with teachers using email. Teachers are available to answer questions or to give clarification regarding tasks and learning experiences.
Is full uniform required?
Students are expected to wear the correct School uniform if they attend School. If the student is at home and is connecting to a class via Zoom, the School’s mufti requirements are the expected dress code.
What is happening with practical subjects?
We understand the logistical and geographical constraints that online learning presents with regard to practical subjects. We will continue to work with families to ensure continuity of learning, experiences and skill sets in this area.
What pastoral care support is available?
We are committed to offering the best online educational and pastoral care support possible. Over the coming days we will be communicating more details about various support mechanisms that are currently being implemented.
Is the canteen still open?
The School canteen is still open at this stage.
What about our Year 12’s?
• Term 1 Exam Block: The Year 12 Exam Block has been cancelled. Individual teachers will communicate with their class regarding how they might still have an opportunity to do a practice exam.
• VET Exams: The VET exams (Hospitality, Construction and Automotive) were NESA tasks. Please remember that VET HSC results are based fully on their HSC exam. The estimate that teachers will send into NESA is only used if a student (for whatever reason) does NOT attend the HSC exam. Their estimate will now be based on their Trial Exam.
• Practical Work: Senior students working on major works may be given materials to work with at home. Video conferencing to consider techniques or details of projects may be used if students are working from home. Any resource packages, in terms of materials, will be provided by the school if prior arrangements are made.
Subject to restrictions and advice given by relevant authorities, teachers may offer students the opportunity to work on campus with parent permission.
• Work Placement: All Work Placement has been postponed.
• How does the impact of COVID-19 affect HSC? The NESA board is meeting today to discuss the ongoing needs of senior students, particularly in the context of HSC. NESA assures us they will communicate with us as soon as possible. They are committed to the fairness and equity of the HSC credential.
What if we still have questions?
Please understand that we will be doing our best to communicate the latest information to you via technology. If there are subject specific questions, please contact the specific teacher.
We thank you for working with us and being patient as together we navigate the frequent changes that our society is now having to follow.
Consistent prayers for our students, staff and school community in this evolving time.
Hayley Ferris, Head of Secondary
Gary Marsters, Julie Carter, Assistant Head of Secondary