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Our return to Campus

Welcoming our Senior Homestead students back to Campus has been delightful over the last couple of weeks. There has been real energy in the air as students engage with face-to-face education once again. While some aspects of our return have felt "normal," it is worth noting that there are many other changes our younger students will notice upon their return.

Emma Sherrington Y11 performs at the International Women's Day Lunch on Tuesday 2 June


The successful return of Senior Homestead students to Campus has come down to our dedicated teaching staff who have continued to place students at the centre of all we do and the incredible support from our committed non-teaching staff. Of course, the ongoing support from all of you, as parents, has made an enormous difference in helping students take greater responsibility for their learning since the start of the CLP. Massive thanks to our students for their thoughtful and mature approach since their return – their sophisticated approach is appreciated. 

There's quite a bit of detailed information below, the more discussion, the higher our students understanding of expectations in Weeks 9 and 10. There are some new protocols for all students and families starting on June 9, so I urge all families to spend time discussing these. In line with government guidelines, our protocols have been developed in the pursuit of a safe environment for all Woodleigh community members.

In the Case of Illness

Most people who have COVID-19 have symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, or sore throat. In the past, many of us would "soldier on" and attend school with such symptoms. A reminder that the expectation is now crystal clear: If students or Woodleigh staff are experiencing any symptoms that are compatible with COVID-19, they must remain off Campus. More information is available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus Students presenting with symptoms during the day will be isolated immediately, and parents will be required to pick them up ASAP and visit their local GP, who may arrange for a test. Also, a reminder that if your child is unable to attend Campus because they are "medically vulnerable," please contact me.

Key Points for Junior Homestead Students 

Please note the following protocols for Weeks 9 & 10 

  • To help reduce congestion, students will go directly to their Homestead on arrival each day (Lesson 1 on Tuesday, June 9, will be a Homestead session).
  • Students need to ensure they have enough food, snacks, and water bottle each day as the canteen remains closed in Weeks 9 & 10.
  • All cooking appliances and equipment are unavailable in Junior Homesteads in Term 2. Students who require cutlery or crockery should bring their own. We also request they take them home again at the end of each day. 
  • Kitchen sinks are available for handwashing.
  • Students can use backpacks to carry books for multiple classes to minimise time at lockers
  • Equipment such as table tennis bats and balls will be available but must be cleaned by students upon return (and students reminded of the need to sanitise after use).
  • All board games, cards, or other games will be unavailable for use. 
  • Students are unable to bring equipment (including sporting, board games or cards) from home. 
  • Students will be encouraged to use outdoor spaces in the near vicinity to Junior Homesteads at break times.
  • At recess and lunch, students may only access their own Homestead. 
  • Doors will remain open, where practicable, to ensure airflow and students are reminded to dress appropriately for the weather on any given day. Thus, we strongly recommend a warm coat.

Hygiene

All teaching spaces on Campus are supplied with hand sanitiser and students will be required to sanitise their hands upon entry and exit of every room. Many senior students have also carried their own sanitiser as some have preferred to use specific brands that include moisturising lotions. Please remember, to conform with government guidelines sanitiser needs to contain at least 60 per cent alcohol. 

Cleaning

A significant increase in our cleaning schedule now comprises regular focus on "hot spots" and cleaning staff based on-site to monitor areas of the school during the day. 

New Pick Up Procedures

Due to the increase in car traffic at the end of the day, we are staggering departure times for our students during Weeks 9 & 10. Please note the following:

  •  All Years 7-9 students that are being collected by car will be dismissed at 3:20. 
  •  All Years 10-12 students that are being collected by car will be dismissed at 3:30. 

The car park in front of Jago will also be available to parents picking up students. Those with siblings leaving by car are to adhere to the leave time of the eldest sibling. Only students who are being collected by car are to go at these times. All bus travellers will leave at the regular time of 3:45.

We do expect the driveway to be busy at these times and appreciate your patience. We respectfully remind parents to drive cautiously and at walking pace and to remain inside their vehicles when collecting children to help us meet government guidelines. 

Students that catch the Mt Eliza Village bus from the main driveway will be asked to wait inside Homestead 1 until it arrives. This should reduce the congregation around the main driveway.

Transport

A reminder that public transport vehicles do not have to uphold social distancing rules. 

We have received advice from our bus providers that a daily sanitising regime has been implemented on all buses. This includes alternating the hand sanitising and wiping of all high-touch points within the bus, and the fumigation of the entire interior. All PTV, School, and Charter buses are additionally sanitised by hand after every morning and afternoon school service. 

Our "Vulnerable" Staff

We have a number of staff that are following medical advice as per the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines for Vulnerable Staff Members, recommending they should continue working off-site until the guidelines change. In the meantime, they will continue to teach students via Zoom. In these cases, there will be an additional staff member supporting the students where required in the classroom. 

We appreciate there is some uncertainty about this and parents – or students – can raise these with the teacher concerned or myself.

Students should also remember the importance of bringing functional headphones and fully charged laptops every day. This measure is fundamental to the functionality of teacher/student communication in cases where a teacher may be leading the class via Zoom.

Confidence in our Students

We continue to be impressed that so many Senior Homestead students are making thoughtful, reasoned decisions based on shared community values and respect. We are equally hopeful of our younger students making good choices. Please take some time over the weekend to reaffirm, reflect, and understand the plans for the remainder of Term 2. 

In This Together!

Reconciliation Week is always significant for our community to reflect, support, and celebrate our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The theme for this year's National Reconciliation Week – In this together – was chosen last year. With events at home and abroad over the past few weeks, more than ever, the theme reminds us, whether, in a crisis or reconciliation, a community can only truly come together when all people feel valued. The journey to a fully reconciled Australia is underpinned by understanding, communication, respect, and relationships. And of course, at Woodleigh, we do not just focus our students on these values for a few days here and there. Karen Fenton (Year 11) displayed excellent leadership this week. Karen bravely and generously shared the story of her great nanna, reminding us of the importance of language and culture to her community, and above all, the impact kindness can have on us all. For those that have not seen our Reconciliation Week Assembly, I encourage you to do so here

A special thanks to Carey Saunders and her dedicated Reconciliation Team who brought this week to life within our community.

International Women's Day

While the activities students experience at Woodleigh are always diverse, they still reflect our belief that students can – and should – make a positive difference in the world. The second example of this was shown by Jazzy Evenden (Year 12), who embraced the challenge of leading our International Women's Day event. Well over 100 people joined this online event, raising both awareness and much need monies for Dorsu, one of our community partners based in Cambodia. The money raised was originally for promoting more learning in factories, but as Cambodia grapples with uncertainty, the money will be used to help workers feed their families. Aside from the funds raised, Jazzy's efforts raised our awareness of the challenging issue of fashion in a consumerist society and how some steps we can all make can have a positive impact on others and the environment. Our sincere gratitude to Jazzy and Helen Billett, who once again supported our students to be the change they wish to see in the world. 

Thank you for your continued support. Stay safe, well and connected,

GARETH BOLCH
Acting Head of Senior Campus
Deputy Principal – Administration, Culture and Partnerships