Shepparton News

‘Education family’ endures a tough learning experience

- — John Cortese, Notre Dame College principal

The past fortnight has been difficult for our Notre Dame community. Sadly, we are now agile in moving between face-to-face to remote learning.

Friday, August 20, raised the bar to another level. A COVID case would eventuate sooner or later, and it did on the 20th. We were well prepared for this.

Students and teachers identified as being connected or exposed to the person or location of the positive case were sent home. On Sunday, August 22, NDC also had a student diagnosed with coronaviru­s. We enacted our critical incident management plans.

The Notre community received a stop-and-stay message. And notice of a 14-day quarantine period.

What a response we had. Our families, students and staff were just magnificen­t in the following two weeks. The support by our caring staff of the students

was incredible, above, and beyond.

Learning and teaching remained paramount. But our main goal continued to be the health and wellbeing of our students

and staff. We set up practices to remain an even more connected school, focusing on mental health, academic needs, and food/water/hygiene requiremen­ts.

GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp and his incredible team were outstandin­g in guiding us. We kept our community informed via SMS direct messaging, an updated website and extensive use of our social media. Doses of humour from staff, students and our college captains helped keep things normal.

Our students have missed many activities such as camps, sports, production­s, hands-on skills, social gatherings, assemblies, masses and the like. But student spirit remains strong.

Our VCE students are given every resource and opportunit­y to be able to do their best. I encourage our fabulous senior students to just focus on what they can control, their studies, diet, sleep, and exercise, and to try their best. That is all we ask of them.

We will continue remote learning this week, parent teacher interview online and a supervised program for students.

We will try to keep things as normal as possible with routine and consistenc­y but always making allowances around the tough times we are experienci­ng. We are prepared for anything. We have faith in our students and staff that we can get through this, learn lessons and be better people because of this experience.

I am totally indebted to our magnificen­t staff, especially the 16-member critical incident management team, formed when Remote 1.0 surfaced, for the manner it has approached the last 18 months. Simply sensationa­l.

The “education family” has been unbelievab­le. We look after each other. Contacts and support from family, friends, excolleagu­es and ex-students (some from 30 years ago) have shown me the power of connection that exists in education. I am so grateful to be in this wonderful “education family”.

WE ARE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING. WE HAVE FAITH IN OUR STUDENTS AND STAFF THAT WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS, LEARN LESSONS AND BE BETTER PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THIS EXPERIENCE. — JOHN CORTESE

 ??  ?? High marks: Notre Dame College principal John Cortese is proud of the response of the school community to the COVID19 outbreak.
High marks: Notre Dame College principal John Cortese is proud of the response of the school community to the COVID19 outbreak.

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