I provided advice on Monday, in relation to the directions provided by the Minister of Education, Sue Ellery and the Premier, Mark McGowan.
At the time, I prefaced my advice and the direction Mindarie Primary School would be taking, by stating that we are in a pandemic and that things are changing daily. I also indicated, that because of this fluctuating situation, I was not prepared to give any further on line updates until closer to the resumption of schooling, that being Wednesday April 29.
As you may have noted, since the update provided on Monday, Minister Ellery has provided more information, as has the Department of Education via a media promotion (on line, radio, West Australian). In addition, we had a Minister of Health Update, which will be sent in the attachments below to the update provided today.
Yesterday I also participated in a Webex meeting with the Director General of Education of WA, and today I am participated in a Zoom meeting, which focused on the intricacies we are facing; this meeting was attended by the president of the Western Australian Primary Principal’s Association and key senior Principals, some of whom have been working in the Department of Education with the response for schools to COVID-19.
When I posted the information brief on Monday, the school administration team and I had formed the belief, because we are in a pandemic, that things would change from Monday to Friday. And they have.
This update is as up to date as I can make it. We will, as a school staff, be meeting on Tuesday April 28 (Pupil Free Day) to finalize the plans for the school moving into Term Two. At this time, we will generate another update for parents, as we are sure that staff may bring up questions and solutions to ensure that Term Two starts smoothly and safely for all on the school site.
Please be assured, we want our kids, back in school, and safe.
We want our school staff, back in school, and safe.
We are also very aware that we have children who cannot be back at school. They have conditions that prevent their return, such as diabetes or other medial conditions, or their parents have respiratory problems (in the severe area), family members may have immuno-suppressant issues, they may have elderly relatives residing with them and so forth. Families may also make the decision to keep children at home for other reasons, and this decision is supported by the school at every level. We respect this, hence these are the children we need to support at home, with ‘Distant Learning’.
I hope that I am being very clear, in this update, as to how Mindarie Primary will operate in the first few weeks of Term Two, 2020. The plan can only be for the first few weeks as the Premier has stated that the plan for schools will be reviewed after the first three weeks.
Our plans will therefore be tweaked and modified, over the next three weeks, in accordance with the advice from the Department of Education and the Health Department. Please note that the provisions we are putting in place are in relation to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); Minister Ellery, Premier McGowan and Minister Cook all refer to these as the basis for their decision to have schools open for term two.
We know that the best place for our children is at school, in their classrooms, being taught by their teacher, and if we had a 100% return to school on Wednesday 29 that would be easy to implement.
We have however, many unknowns that are outside of our control.
What we do know is that on Wednesday March 18, when it became very clear that we were in a Pandemic, we had 140 students absent. So, we had 80% of children in attendance. A large number of the parents with children absent indicated that they were removing their children as a precaution, regarding COVID-19. By Wednesday March 25, one week later, we had 48% of children in attendance.
Our great unknown, and something you can assist us with, is will your child be at school or at home. Once we know this we can plan accordingly.
Please complete the brief survey, attached to this update, to advise us of what your plans for your child/children are. It should only take 20 seconds to complete. Please, if you have already let the school know, thank you. Could you please also complete this survey as well.
You can complete the survey embedded into the bottom of this email, or by pressing the link below:
To assist you with your planning we have done the following:
If you are considering Distance Learning
- Our on-line learning ‘Home Education Learning Packages (HELP)’ went live today. Please have a look on the Mindarie Primary School ‘Learning’ Hub – password is MPS2020
- These packages will be available in hard copy on Monday March 27 from the front of the school between 10.00 am to 12.00 noon.
- ‘Can do’ packages for each phase level (K-P, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6) will be available at the same time.
- The Distance Learning guide has the suggested timetables for given year levels. Note that these timetables are punctuated with ‘Brain Breaks’ and so forth. As a student’s normal day at school is.
- The resource pack for your family has been provided to support the students learning from home.
- Teachers have set up Seesaw for their classes, this will enable regular communication with students.
- Student will access Matific, Reading Eggs, Reading Express and Literacy Pro.
- When students arrive at school in the morning they will go to their regular classroom.
- The ‘Home Education Learning Packs (HELP)’ content will be the content that teachers will teach for the first two weeks in Mathematics, English and Specialist subjects.
- Dependent on numbers teachers will have their own classes for the majority of the day. Please note this can only be established once we know numbers. To provide clarity for example if we have 80% of students at school this will be our action, if we have 50% then we will need to review this, as we need to also be catering for ‘Distance Learning’.
- Some classes will not have their own teacher as those staff are on leave due to COVID 19 and it’s possible impact on their health. Some teachers will be working elsewhere due to some Administration staff being on leave.
- Student will access Matific, Reading Eggs, Reading Express and Literacy Pro, as they currently do and in line with what students participating in ‘Distance Education are doing.
- Students will have access to specialist teachers, teaching in the student’s classrooms. These teachers will be delivering face-to-face the same content that is included in the ‘HELP’ packs. The only difference will be that this will be timetables through the teaching day as one specialist cannot teach a whole year level of students at the same time.
- Students will be having ‘Brain Breaks’ and access to manipulable objects in their classrooms. This will be dependent of hygiene regimes.
- Dependent on numbers Education Assistants may be working in classrooms or supporting with the preparation of ‘Distance Learning’ materials.
To help us to support your children we would really appreciate it if you could make a commitment to one form of educational delivery or the other for the first eight days; from Wednesday April 29 through to and inclusive of Friday May 11. This will reduce disruption to students and teachers on site.
All students are required to participate in one or the other form of Education and their attendance needs to be accounted for. If you opt to adopt the Distance Learning program, please advise us, in writing, if your child is ill and unable to participate on any given day. Likewise, if your child is participating in the on-site program and is away due to illness please advise us of this in writing, via.
Implementing the AHPPC Directives
Many of the strategies we have already implemented meet the recommendations outlined in the AHPPC directive.
As you are aware, this is the approach that the Government has endorsed as being the most effective. As you will appreciate, having had your children at home for the past two to seven weeks, it is also one that is hard to implement with children, so we need to change our environment to make it easier to enforce.
Drop Off and Collection
The Premier, Minister for Education and Minister for Health have been very clear on this. Parents are not to come onto the school grounds. In the last two weeks of term one we implemented this policy and our students are parents managed this exceptionally well. I know that you will continue to do so.
- All gates around the school will open at 8.25am. Staff will open these and will be at these to monitor student’s arrival. Parents therefore have a window of 20 minutes to effect drop. Please make sure you physically distance at this time.
- Pre-Primary and Kindergarten students are to enter and exit from the gate at the base of the stairs leading up to the Early Childhood yard. This is at the western end of the basketball courts. Early childhood teachers will greet the students at the top of the stairs. The exception to this is if you have an older child who can accompany your younger child to their class.
- Parents are best placed to determine which other gates suit their families for entrance to the school. Please ensure that your children know which gates they will be dropped off to and collected from. Please remind older children to collect younger siblings at the end of the day, if this is what is happening.
- No scooters or bikes are to be ridden to school, this is because we cannot supervise access to the bike cage at the start and finish of the school day.
- All students must have left the school grounds by 2.55pm at the latest.
- No use of the playgrounds before or after school.
Whilst the need to be distanced at 1.5 meters and been relaxed for the school setting we are still planning to distance students from each other as much as possible over these first four weeks.
- Following recess and lunch breaks students line up in pairs at 1.5 distance each way. Positions marked on the veranda to support this. The line will start from the wet area doors and progress around the veranda. Our verandas are 1.6 meters wide. We will have in excess of 35 meters on each side of the blocks.
- Students enter classrooms via the wet area doors, this is because these doors are wider and can be held open, allowing for distancing and also reduction of touch points. Doors from the wet area into the classrooms will remain open during the day and will be the classroom entrance and exit doors. (Last term we had the external doors open, however with winter approaching this is not an environmentally friendly solution for the students or teachers).
- No mat time. Mat time will be conducted from desks.
- Children will be seated end to end on desks. PP and K children will also have a desk.
- To provide the extra space and also reduce touch points all non-essential classroom materials will be removed from the classrooms. This will be things such as book corners, dramatic play areas and so forth as these do use up valuable floor space. These areas also promote close proximity of children, something we are striving to alleviate. Please let your children know that their classroom will look a little different.
At this point in time we are planning to split the students eating time at recess and lunch time to reduce the number of students on playgrounds and also to reduce the likely hood of students not self-distancing. Our breaks could therefore look like this-
- Recess – Siren sounds – Kindy, year one, three and five students eat in classrooms for 10 minutes at their desks.
- Recess – Siren sounds – PP, year two, four and six students play for 10 minutes.
- Then they swap. Each year group gets 10 minutes play time. 10 minutes supervised eating, talking time.
- Lunch – Siren sounds – Kindy, year one, three and five students eat in classrooms for 15 minutes. At desks.
- Lunch – Siren sounds – PP, year two, four and six students play for 15 minutes.
- Then they swap. Each year group gets 15 minutes’ play time. 15 minutes supervised eating, talking time.
Please note that we will make sure that class teachers build in more physically active time, within the parameters we need to follow, so children will not spend all day sitting at a desk. We need to be clever in how we do this so there will be brain breaks, Go Noodle and so forth.
Please note that the above is also being discussed with teachers on Tuesday.
We will only use the following play areas.
- Early Childhood Areas.
- Junior play area and grass area.
- Tiger turf and central quadrangle.
- Senior play area.
- No oval and Basket-Ball courts as these areas are open to the general public for use.
This is a highly important aspect and needs your careful consideration. All staff have been advised that if they are feeling unwell, for any reason, they are not to come to school. This is for the wellbeing of our students and fellow staff members and ultimately your family’s health.
- If your child is unwell – keep them at home.
- Notify the school, via email or through the school website, that they are sick and provide the school with information as to what you are doing for the child and the possible duration of the absence.
- Do not return your child to school if they are still unwell.
- Teachers will send home any children who complain of being unwell or present with symptoms of illness, such as a cough or sneezing.
We already have the following in place-
- No shared equipment (except at the Early Childhood level and this is being cleaned regularly).
- No use of drink fountains, all children must have their own drink bottle.
- No sharing of home cooked food e.g. cup-cakes. Please send packaged food such as Freddo Frogs etc. to celebrate birthdays.
- Hand sanitiser in all classrooms and used regularly.
- Hand hygiene posters and explicit teaching of in classes.
- Hand washing enforced before eating and before transitioning.
- Cough and sneeze posters in all areas, and protocol reinforced regularly during the day.
- Pedal operated bins with a lid for used tissues.
- Soap and paper towels in all bathrooms and wet areas.
- Glen 20 or disinfectant wipes in classrooms to disinfect communal equipment such as iPads and clip boards between uses.
- Toilet doors propped open (not cubicle doors) to reduce touch points.
- Reduced manipulable equipment in classrooms to ensure that they are able to be cleaned daily.
- No library or reading books (as these go home and we cannot control the home situation), students may have access to these materials at school, this will be dependent on teachers wiping them down after use and also ensuring students wash or sanitise hand before use.
- No borrowing of hats.
- Only teachers use the Promethean boards.
- Chairs stacked with touch points facing into the classroom for ease of daily cleaning.
- Increased cleaning of door handles and so forth.
- No group work, as distancing cannot be maintained.
- No assemblies. We will continue to think of ways we can be together virtually.
- No incursions.
- No excursions.
- No Choir.
- No after school activities.
- Students will still do middle, junior and senior sport. It will be with their class only.
- Students have their designated toilets and play areas.
- Cashless office.
- On line only uniform shop.
- No icy poles or lunch orders.
- No over the shoulder marking.
- Marking at a point the teacher determines with spacers in place to delineate the spacing required.
- No cushions, dress-ups etc in classrooms and these cannot be cleaned daily.
- No games involving touching such as ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ or ‘Heads Down, Thumbs Up’.
- Specialist teachers go to classrooms. Specialist rooms closed.
- Toilets being cleaned during the day, especially following recess and lunch breaks.
- Touch points being cleaned during the day.
- Playgrounds cleaned between use.
- Sports equipment cleaned after use.
- Cleaning of the gates, touch points, morning and afternoon.
- Regular cleaning of work spaces – students will be taught how to do this and be provided with the tools to do so. (It is a life skill).
- Taps and high level touch points will be cleaned by day cleaners.
Please note, whatever decision you make, regarding your child/children’s learning over the next eight days, we respect your decision and will support you.
We look forward to welcoming all of our students back to school at the start of Term 2, whether it be face to face or via Distance Education.
24 April 2020