‘Education family’ endures a tough learning experience
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