Newsletter #7 24/06/2020

Principal’s Report

COVID-19 Restrictions – Impact on Term 3 School Arrangements
At the time of publication of this Newsletter, Victoria is still in a “State of Emergency” for a further month in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on the broader Victorian community.

COVID-19 “Hot Spots” have been identified in local government areas around Melbourne, including the City of Darebin, in which our school is located. Until further advice is received, where restrictions may be eased, the school will begin Term 3 with our current attendance arrangements continuing for students and parents. That is, restrictions on adults attending the school grounds will continue to be in place, while staggered Drop-Off and Pick-Up times will continue for students, although a couple of the times have been reviewed .

Sporting Program
The school has planned to begin Term 3 with the resumption of our off-site Sporting Program for Years 1-6 each Friday at Bundoora Indoor Sports, starting with our first scheduled session on Friday 17th July. Currently, the advice in relation to the updated restrictions for sport supports the plans we have made. That is:
• Indoor sport and recreation activities can resume and playcentres can open, with a maximum of 20 people per space, and with up to 10 people per group class. There are no limits on the number of people per group or class if all participants are 18 years old or younger .

I have no doubt the return to this level of “normality” for our students will be well-received. However, this is an activity that will be reviewed week by week depending on updates to the community restrictions and on the school’s risk assessment in relation to the welfare of our students and staff.

Instrumental Music to Resume
Private Piano and Guitar lessons will once again be available form the beginning of Term 3. Nick and Luke will be in touch with parents in coming days to organise enrolment in these classes.

Term 2 School Holiday Period
As we begin the school holiday period, may I reinforce the following precautions because of the potential impact to our school in Term 3 if we were to be directly impacted by COVID-19, as seen recently in other schools around Melbourne.
• Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has warned us to adopt a “tempered” approach to travelling over the school holidays, and warned people from mingling with other families interstate.
• Holidaymakers have also been warned against congregating in large groups and travelling with other families
• From 22 June the number of visitors that you can have to your home has reduced to five visitors. Outdoor gatherings have reduced to a maximum group of ten people

The last point is especially valid for our school at Pick-Up times when parents are at or around the school gates. As difficult as it is to be denied the opportunity to speak and spend time with other parents, we encourage you to pick up your child and depart the school promptly. I expect everyone understands that we are all trying to be considerate of each other and respect the importance and need for social distancing.

Guidelines* For Student Ill-Health
The school continues to put policies and practices in place that have the best interests of our students at heart as well as in these circumstances, protecting staff and other members of our school community. In light of the recent information provided by authorities to the community regarding COVID-19 “Hotspots” and the increased vigilance required in Victoria, and specifically within the City of Darebin, the school has prepared some guidelines which may be helpful for families when evaluating whether to keep your child home from school.
*The Guidelines are included in a separate document sent with this Newsletter.

Key Dates
Sun 5th July Guru Purnima
Mon 13th July Staff Planning Day for Term 3 (School Closed: Student-Free Day)
Tues 14th July Term 3 begins for students
Friday 17th July Bundoora Indoor Sports Centre (Years 1-6) (Sports Uniform Day)
Monday 20th July Smoking Ceremony for NAIDOC Week (see information below)
Term 3 Class Captains announced (students’ parents to attend for photos, via invitation only)
Parent Group Meditation via Zoom (9.30-10.30am)

Last Day of Term 2 for Students
The Student Representative Council, classroom teachers and I have discussed ways in which we can end this most unusual of school semesters to acknowledge and thank students and staff . The plan for this Friday 26th is as follows:
Casual Clothes Day for the students – gold coin contribution is requested that will be a belated donation to the annual Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal
“Easter Egg Hunt” – the children are keen to make up for missing out on this annual event at Easter. We will have an alternative chocolate treat and will plan for only one-two pieces per child.
Pizza Lunch – the school will be providing up to two slices of Margherita pizza for each student (including gluten-free). Please contact the Office if food intolerances or personal preference require other alternatives to be considered. Snacks and additional food for lunch should be packed if the pizza is not sufficient.
Each class will be conducting a range of fun classroom-based and outdoor activities during the day. Sports shoes are preferred with casual clothes.

Semester One Student Reports
The Federal and State Departments of Education have adjusted the expectations of Student Reports for Semester One in recognition of the transition to remote and flexible learning during Term 2. While our school has continued to deliver its teaching and learning program and monitor the achievement and progress of each student, there have been some unprecedented changes to the manner in which our usual program was delivered. Semester One in 2020 involved the Teaching and Learning Programs delivered via ‘Face-To-Face Teaching’ at school and ‘Remote Learning’ at home. As a result, student progress and achievement will be reported largely as usual, but without the usual requirement to report on an equivalent five-point scale for each subject studied. Student Reports will be emailed to parents on or before Monday 29th June.

Staff Planning Day for Term 3
Staff will begin Term 3 on Monday 13th July with a Planning Day. This is a Student-Free Day.
Students will begin Term 3 on Tuesday 14th July.

Maharishi School Portal
You are invited to log into the School Portal to view the many new videos and blogs that teachers have posted.
We also have video footage of the past two Monday School Assemblies with performances by the Pearls and a clever parody performed by Indi-Rae and Alize of Year 5.

National NAIDOC Week 2020 celebrations have been shifted from 5-12 July to 8-15 November.
The November dates follow the decision by the National NAIDOC Committee (NNC) to postpone NAIDOC Week from the original July dates due to the impacts and uncertainty from the escalating Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across our communities and cities. The postponement was aimed at protecting Aboriginal elders and those in our communities with chronic health issues from the disastrous impacts of COVID19.
The July dates for NAIDOC will still be acknowledged by communities and organisations, however the celebrations and physical gatherings will still be impacted by the various State and Territory COVID19 restrictions and social distancing measures.
Our school will proceed with our annual Smoking Ceremony on Monday 20th July with Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Trevor Gallagher. At this stage we have planned this as a student-only School Assembly but are hopeful that restrictions will be eased in Victoria by that time to enable parents to attend. (Victoria’s State of Emergency is due to end on Sunday 19th July)

MIU Online Learning
We encourage parents to log into the Maharishi International University website to access a range of courses, some of which have been made available for free. These Online Enrichment courses are non-credit courses which are open to anyone – although some have the TM course as a prerequisite. These are self-study courses. Learn at your own pace from wherever you are and have up to one year to view the course. There are no assignments or tests.

Wishing everyone a healthy and safe school holiday period,
S Charisis (Principal)