What a joy it was to see Year 12, then Year 11, and Kindergarten at school this week! All three year levels have been back in action: the seniors full time, and Kindergarten for two days. A school without students is an empty place, devoid of soul like a skeleton without flesh and bones.
To see the garden of Kindergarten pulsing with life again as the Kindy’s ran and played was, to quote Oscar Wilde, “a wonderful sight”. It reminded me of that moment in his The Selfish Giant when the giant looks out his window and sees that the children have returned to his garden:
"He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing." (Oscar Wilde, The Selfish Giant)
The teachers are very much looking forward to having the Kindergarten move to three days back, Class 1 for two days, and the rest of the school present for one day next week. We will review our staged transition back to full time school after that day of full attendance, and any changes to the next stage of the plan will be communicated directly.
In preparation for the full return, we have strict controls in place:
- Environmental cleaning has been upgraded to ensure all high traffic surfaces are cleaned three times each day;
- Protocols on hygiene such as hand washing will be emphasised to students and hand sanitizers will be available in all classrooms;
- Any student or staff member who shows any symptoms of illness must stay at home;
- Any student who has a family member with a compromised immune system may stay at home if he/she wishes and complete school work at home;
- Isolation procedures including temperature checks will be in place for any student who develops symptoms of illness during the day; and
- Parents are not to enter any campus of the school unless there is an urgent need.
On Monday and Tuesday next week, all regular supervision duties for drop off and pick up of students, including the traffic controller on Eastern Valley Way, will be in place. The Traffic Management plan for Middle Cove will be back in force, and we request all parents meeting younger students at both campuses to maintain appropriate social distancing.
When the news of the lockdown came through with the directive to Stay at Home, my first thought was, what about all the people who don’t have a home? Every night some 100,000 people in Australia spend the night homeless in some form, most sleeping rough, on the streets or in shelters. Of these 100,000 the estimate is that 40,000 are young people.
There are a number of organisations doing wonderful work to support the homeless. But becoming homeless is an end result, and it’s a hard road back to any kind of normality.
Kids Under Cover is an organisation that helps prevent young people ending up on the streets in the first place. They work to support young people at risk of becoming homeless by providing simple accommodation close to the family home where the young person can be separate but secure. Space makes all the difference. They build and provide simple, small structures that are flat packed and can be erected in a day to provide studio accommodation in a back yard. They provide scholarships to get the young person back into education and the workforce. Over the past 25 years they have built hundreds of studios across Australia and assisted nearly 2,000 young people.
Hangout for the Homeless is their fundraiser on Saturday May 23rd. They are asking people to support the homeless by sleeping out yourself, either outside or even on the floor, just not in your regular bed. Try to experience at least a moment of not having your own comfortable bed to lie in. It costs just $5 to register, and we’ve created a Glenaeon team. When you register, you can join the Glenaeon team.
You can seek sponsorships from family and friends to sponsor you for the night. You can donate as much as you able, to support young people keep a roof over the heads, and hope in their hearts.
[If you are participating in this fundraiser please submit your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share in our next edition]