As we enter the second half of this term, our focus turns to ending the year well and preparing for the start of the new school year.
This week we celebrate the completion of HSC examinations. The students experience the relief of finally reaching this milestone and as a school, we are most relieved and thankful that this examination period has not be disrupted by COVID-19. A great deal of work and planning was invested to minimise the impact of a possible positive case within our school community. Knowing that our local area continues to experience cases of the virus spread, it is important that we all continue to maintain good hygiene and distancing practices to maintain good community health and safety. It was disappointing to hear in the media that 39 businesses in the Liverpool area were not using COVID-Safe protocol. Can I ask that as you visit a business in our community, please be mindful of the care they are taking in looking after you and their other patrons.
The end of the year is also a time for celebrating the efforts of our students over the past four terms. Firstly, our students have managed the changes to regular patterns of school exceptionally well and I am most thankful for the care and support provided by staff and families alike, for our students. Plans for the Year 12 and Year 6 Graduations are in place and the details of how parents can participate in these events have been communicated to these year groups.
In the past days, the NSW Health Department has provided updated guidance in relation to the end of year awards ceremonies. These include the relaxation of some restrictions. We have been reviewing these changes and considering how they may work in our situation. On the basis that the physical distancing requirements remain in place along with the limitation of large groups of students assembling for extended blocks of time, we are not in the position to return to the format for ceremonies of past years.
In the Primary School, two End of Year Assemblies will be held at different points of the day (K-2 and Year 3-6). Preparations are being made to enable the events to be streamed so families may watch from home. In the High School, three separate assemblies with be held at the same time on the afternoon of the last day. These assemblies will include pairs of year groups and a range of presenters, items and awards presentations. We are not in the position to provide a livestream of these ceremonies; however, we are considering how we can provide a record of the presentations for families. The Prep School will be providing online end of year performances for parents using the Seesaw app.
I am not expecting to hear from the authorities prior to the end of term on the topic of school restrictions for next year. Thus, we are planning to continue as per current practices for the start of the year. This will include the two kiss and drop zones in the morning (which appear to have a been a great success), parents dropping and picking up students at the front of the school and any access to the school for parents by signing in first through the front administration office.
We recognise that the start of a new year can be a big step for our students and their families, especially those in Kindergarten. Thus, we are currently considering structures that will enable parents and students to have confidence when starting their first days of school. Information about how this will be structured will be sent to relevant families.
In addition, to assist students and families navigating the big steps in their schooling journey, we have been running a series of information evenings and adjusted events for our new Prep and Year 7 families. Thankyou to our High School faculties who hosted our STEM flavoured ‘Taster Day’ for our current and incoming students of Year 7 2021. Taster Day is a great opportunity for students to get a sense of life as a high school student and get to know new peers and start future friendships.
These last weeks are the final stretch of a marathon year. While the formal assessment is done and reports are being finalised, there is a great deal of thought and time being given to the aims and plans for next year. We are thankful for the limited impacts on our school (compared to Victorian schools) and we are prayerful that we may continue to hear of reduced restrictions. Currently, we are planning for camps and excursions to recommence next year. We currently have bookings for campsites for next year including some extra ones for Year 8 and 10. We are hoping that these will be an opportunity to ‘catch up’ on some of what we missed from this year. We wait and see what God has planned for us in 2021.
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.