Close contacts and isolation
Widespread lockdown aside, there is a more pressing scenario which we are already starting to see: the requirement for students to isolate for 14 days due to them either being a close contact of someone with COVID, or if they or you have visited an exposure site.
If anyone in your household is instructed to isolate and get tested, we ask that your children remain at home as well. This is particularly important with the Delta variant.
If a student is required to isolate but they are still healthy, please make contact with their tutor/classroom teacher/teachers. The teachers will not be able to teach online while they still have face-to-face classes, but they can support your son/daughter’s learning while they are at home. Broadly, your son/daughter can access their learning in the following ways:
- Junior School:
- Secondary School:
- Via the Learn portal
Another public health measure that is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future is the wearing of masks. The current health advice is that masks must be worn by those 12 years or older with some exceptions. Students are not required to wear a mask while at School (although if you would like your child to wear a mask, they are welcome to do so). Staff must wear masks if they cannot socially distance in their workspace, but are not required to wear one while teaching.
One point I wish to emphasise is that students aged 12 or over must wear masks if they are on public transport. Failure to do so could invoke a fine from the Government.
Preparation for remote learning
While none of us want to see it, there is a high likelihood that we will go back into lockdown before the year is out and this would likely mean a return to remote learning. Something we learnt during previous lockdowns is the importance of students having a distinct space at home in which to undertake their remote learning. Some students found it a struggle to get out of bed to log onto their classes, while others were prone to distraction from computer games or the TV.
To best assist your child/ren to get the most out of their remote learning, I would encourage you to speak with your child/ren about a suitable location in your house from where they can work. We recommend somewhere in a common space to ensure there are as few external distractions as possible, and also encouraging your child/ren to get dressed either in their house shirt or school uniform for the day. Best practice research indicates that the more students approach remote learning as if they were physically attending School, the more they get out of their experience and the better their mental health will be.
We also found that it was typically Year 9 students who found it the hardest to stay focused. We do have strategies to keep them engaged, but if you have a son or daughter in that year group, it is very important that they have good routines and a suitable workspace in a common area in your home.
Procedure if a COVID case is detected
Lastly, I’d like to remind you again of our procedures should a lockdown be suddenly implemented or if a COVID positive case is confirmed for a St Paul’s student or staff member. You can access our quick guide here. I encourage you to bookmark this link or print it out and put it on your fridge, as there may be very little warning should the School need to lock down.
I would also ask that if any member of your household tests positive, that you let us know as soon as possible. We will protect your identity as best we can, but want to ensure we protect everyone else in our community, particularly those most vulnerable; and to also have the opportunity to hold you in our prayers and offer pastoral support.
As ever, this is a fast-moving situation where circumstances can change with little notice. We will endeavour to do everything possible to support you and your child/ren through the challenges of this pandemic.
RAY GEISE BURSARY
Please click here for full details about this Bursary, and how to apply. Applications close Friday 15 October 2021.
Dr Paul Browning