End of Term 1 Principal Message
What a term it has been! First and foremost, I would like to thank the entire ASPS community for your compassion, patience, understanding and support throughout what has been a very different Term 1. It seems like only yesterday that the school was banding together to raise funds and awareness for those affected by the summer bushfires. While our attention has been diverted somewhat by the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage families to keep these Australians in our thoughts as they continue to re-build their lives, homes and communities after what was a devastating fire season. Donations can still be made to support our worst hit communities via the following link.
COVID-19: What Can We Do?
As a school leadership team, we have been immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic since January as we reached out to families that had travelled to China to visit family and celebrate the Lunar New Year. On behalf of the ASPS community, I would like to thank these families for the diligence and care for others that they demonstrated from the outset to self-isolate and protect our local community from the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. To date, we have not had a confirmed case of the virus amongst our students or family members. That said, we must not be complacent and we must all show the same level of diligence over the coming days, weeks and months to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our local communities and more broadly, throughout Victoria and Australia.
I have included a full recording of Premier Daniel Andrews’ press conference from yesterday (23/03/2020) for parents to listen to as I firmly believe that as a community, it is critical that we follow the advice and rules that are designed to protect us, our loved ones and unknown others from becoming ill. We also know now that for some members of our communities that this illness will prove to be fatal.
In Daniel Andrews’ press conference he stressed that this would be a very different school holiday period and that there would not be social gatherings, play dates between friends, sleepovers, dinner parties or other simple social activities such as going to shopping centres and other popular public spaces. As Premier Andrews said,
“I also call on every Victorian to undertake their civic duty and practice social distancing: don’t be closer than 1.5 metres from another person, wash your hands and practice good hand hygiene. Do that for yourself, your loved ones and for the loved ones of people you have never met. It will save lives.”
Further updates can be accessed via the following DHHS website and the school will continue to keep families informed throughout the holidays. If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.
COVID-19 Hotline: 1800 675 398
In the event of a positive test result (even during the school holidays), it is also critical that you notify the school directly via email.
At this stage, school will resume on Wednesday 15 April (Tuesday 14 April is a pupil free day). In the likely event that this will change, our school will transition immediately towards learning being remote. Rest assured that the school has extensive plans in place to ensure that learning can continue if schools remain closed after the holidays. These plans incorporate the remote learning plans that are already in place for students who have been absent but the key difference will be that teachers’ focus will have shifted towards engaging with students in a completely remote learning setting.
What can families do to prepare for remote learning?
One of the many challenges that families might face in terms of the shift towards remote learning is access to devices, particularly where there are multiple children trying to connect with learning engagements set by teachers. While the laptop program does not start at ASPS until students are in Year 5, a device purchased now for younger students will most likely still be fit for purpose when your child reaches Year 5. As such and while there is a two week window for delivery, families that are able to, are encouraged to consider purchasing a computer device for your child to support your child’s access to learning which will be delivered remotely (particularly those in Years 3 and 4). The school has contacted our regular supplier (for the Year 5/6 BYOD program and they have limited stock for the entry level Lenovo Yogas which can be purchased via the portal link below (includes free delivery) or via other preferred online suppliers (i.e. JBHiFi).
The Importance of Tech Free Time
While there will be a natural reliance on technology for learning and entertainment, all families are encouraged to set aside time for regular tech-free activities such as outside play, exercise, board games, Lego, craft, writing , cubby building and other fun home-based activities. As per the sample schedule provided last week (see below), all families will need to find the right balance that works for you but life is always easier when you have a plan!
Thank You to ASPS Staff
Lastly, I would like to thank all of the magnificent ASPS staff. The school’s response to the current and emerging challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has very much been a team effort and I would like to thank every single member of staff for their efforts to maintain a sense of calm and consistency for our students and their families. It needs to be acknowledged that for teachers and support staff, this has been a stressful time. This stress has been eased somewhat by the strong show of appreciation and support from within our parent community. The regular emails of support and thanks have been very well received and the ASPS: Act with Kindness (Facebook Page) initiative which saw parent donating money to pay for teacher coffees and lunches helped to make us all feel both valued and cared for – THANK YOU! I hope that all staff enjoy the holiday break as an opportunity to relax, switch off from school (no Seesaw posts during the holidays please!) and focus on their own needs and wellbeing.
To all of our students and families, take care, continue to follow the COVID-19 advice and make smart choices to keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible.
Marcus Wicher Shaz Bailey, Ben Zonca & Michael Wainwright
Principal Assistant Principals