From Mr McMullen

Our school attributes provide a framework that help us talk about who we hope for our sons and daughters, our students will grow to become. This week one of our attributes particularly comes to mind ‘Collaborate and communicate.’ In Primary, it is called ‘be a team member’.

We have had the blessing of running two year group camps in High School (and are preparing for two more next week) and in Primary the Prep to Year 2 fun run. Year 9 and 10 have had a great time away on camp, enjoying each other’s company, meeting and overcoming challenging activities and having the opportunity to step back from the routine of school life to hear the good news about Jesus Christ and reflect. In running successful camps there is an immense amount of work in planning and preparation and a great amount of energy required of staff who are participating. I would like to thank the staff who worked together on these events and acknowledge the time and energy they have provided. It’s a huge investment in our students which is well worth it.

I had the pleasure to drop into the fun run a couple of times throughout the day. I must say, it was hard to pick who was having more fun, the students or our visiting families. Parents and student were completing the activities side by side with staff. The beautiful weather just amplified the smiles on everyone’s faces. This event ran extremely smoothly, providing activities for hundreds of students and their families, coordinated by our staff with good lines of communication in the lead-up and on the day. Again, I want to thank those who organised and ran the day, plus the families who participated and helped support students as they had a great time.

While we were watching a group of students engaged in an activity, one mum exclaimed to me that this was her first time at such an event even though she had been a parent of the school since last year. I am so thankful that we can enjoy such positive experiences as part of school life when so many other parts of the world are experiencing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I write this having heard that Victorians are entering their fourth lockdown as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19. This shows us that despite the blessing of our current low case numbers, complacency about what is being asked of us as a community, it takes very little to undo to good work of the past 12 months and go back to higher restrictions.

So firstly, I want to ask and remind you to continue using the sign-in procedures for the places you visit, including our school. The rapid and effective response to the community COVID-19 case who visited a string of BBQ shops was made possible because that person signed into all those venues. This enabled NSW Health to effectively trace and identify contacts.

Secondly, the school is still required to follow Public Health Orders. This includes the necessity for students to stay home if they are sick. If they are at school with flu-like symptoms, they need to be picked up and taken home. I acknowledge the disruptive nature of this requirement. For students with an underlying health condition, seek medical advice and documentation to avoid repetitive calls and COVID- 19 tests.

The school does not have a discretionary option to ignore this restriction. I ask all parents to work with the school on this matter and support our Health Centre staff who work to provide care for your sons and daughters. Unfortunately, a small number of parents have turned their frustration towards our staff, who are not responsible for the decisions behind the Public Health Orders. These orders will only change when the threat to our community of inflection is no longer present. Therefore, I ask parents to respond with respect and work with the school in this matter.

This brings me to my third point where we can cooperate and work as a community. If you are in the position to access COVID-19 vaccination, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated. Every additional vaccinated person is one less place where the virus can exist. Vaccines are most effective when they are used by the vast majority of the community. So, take the opportunity to help protect yourself and protect those around you. And to be clear that I stand behind what I write, this afternoon is my turn for the jab at an appointment at my local medical centre.

The wisdom of the Bible reminds us of the benefits of collaborating. By God’s grace, we can work toward the common goal of maintaining the health and safety of our school and the wider community.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labour:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

In His service,

Keith McMullen