Principal’s Message

It has certainly been an unprecedented couple of weeks, with the closure of several schools in Queensland, Interstate and the World Health Organisation declaring coronavirus COVID-19, a pandemic. I wanted to take this opportunity to reassure our own community of the detailed planning measures that the College has in place if we were required to close due to a diagnosed case of the virus.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the College. The College would immediately notify the St John’s community if it were otherwise. However, the scene is shifting so rapidly that it is necessary to plan carefully for all eventualities.

As you may be aware, our Prime Minister introduced new unprecedented travel bans that will be in place for at least the next six-month period.  Due to these latest developments in relation to the Federal Government’s management of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

As always, our student’s health and wellbeing are of utmost importance.  In some instances, our International Students will be returning to their home country as soon as possible at their parent’s request.  We are endeavouring to provide a safe and positive outcome for families and students within this changing environment.

What has been happening to prepare?
In late January 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) was designated as a potential Critical Incident by the Senior Leadership Team and the College’s Critical Incident Policy was enacted and the team began working on our Communications Plan and a Containment and Preparedness Plan for the College. We have been in contact with health officials at State and Federal level. Against this background, I want to assure you that the College – and all the schools under the umbrella of the Anglican Schools Commission – is doing all that it can to stay informed and to be prepared for any eventuality. The health and well-being of our students is our highest priority.

Sometimes the advice we receive is inconsistent or even contradictory. The chief priority is to secure the health of all students, staff and families, so far as it is possible. A close second priority is to attend to the mental wellbeing of all, allowing students to thrive together during times of uncertainty. It’s not quite “business as usual”, but we have been trying to strike the balance between allowing students to enjoy 2020 whilst urging them to be mindful of the concerns around us. To that end, we have established a detailed plan, which I now share with you.

This plan outlines the actions and responsibilities in addressing key areas including:

Infection Control – promotion of good hygiene to students and staff.
Communications – ensuring that our communications to all our community is coordinated and factual.
Absence Management – reinforcing self-isolation and quarantine measures for both students and staff.
Student and Staff Wellbeing – establishment of protocols to monitor the wellbeing of our students and staff and providing resources for staff to be able to talk with students where required.
Homestay – reviewing our infection control measures within the Homestay Families. A Homestay readiness plan is in place should our students need access to health services or to their families.
School Events – continual risk assessment of all upcoming scheduled events

Staying in touch
We have established a dedicated page on our St John’s website where any updates, FAQs and important information for our community can be easily accessed. If you haven’t yet visited this page, I encourage you to refer to it and visit the site regularly, even daily. We will be updating the site as new developments occur.

School Closures are being discussed in the media
Should the College be required to close, an action plan has been developed that ensures continuity of learning for our students so that learning can continue with as little disruption as possible. Again, I refer you to the dedicated COVID-19 webpage for more details.

Could I ask all families to ensure that you have adequate web and Wi-Fi access at home and that you have tested all your own systems? Whilst remote learning will never replace the positive learning experience that a classroom interaction provides, we still can stay in touch with the academic program this way and not lose valuable curriculum time.

We wish to inform you of our proposed preparedness for remote learning continuity. This will take place on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March with students not attending school on these days. Details of the plan for the day are outlined here.

Of concern are our Year 11 and 12 students as they approach their assessment period. Please be in touch with your Head of House or Home Group teacher if you are concerned.  Please take time to read our Deputy Principal – Head of Curriculum and Innovation, Andrew Landroth’s article about how the College will manage classes should we be closed for any period of time.

Events before the end of term
There are still several weeks before the end of this term and many scheduled events. Please refer to the attachment Term Events for an outline of changes.

Please be assured that the College is committed to the provision of quality teaching and learning outcomes during this time and will continue to communicate strategies to our parents, caregivers and students.

I express my thanks to all members of the community for maintaining a calm approach in light of these extraordinary times. Please pray for the St John’s community.

Kind Regards,

Mrs Maria McIvor