COVID-19 Principal Update 24.04.20

Good morning Parents/Guardians,
 
I hope you are all well and coping with the social distancing measures. I know I am missing catching up with family and friends, going to a restaurant or seeing a movie. We will all be appreciating these things so much more as we are allowed to do them again. 
 

Good morning Parents/Guardians,
 
I hope you are all well and coping with the social distancing measures. I know I am missing catching up with family and friends, going to a restaurant or seeing a movie. We will all be appreciating these things so much more as we are allowed to do them again. 
 
Staff are looking forward to seeing students beginning to return next week, as restrictions are eased across the state with minimal community spread of COVID19 in WA. Students staying at home for the first week or two will continue to be catered for through CONNECT and home resources if required. Work will be released each day at 5pm for the next day's work. Specialist subjects will release work each week on a Sunday night at 5pm. 
 
I will be sending out a detailed document on Tuesday with more specific information provided for parents on the strategies we have put in place for Term 2. This document will be in place for the first two weeks of Term 2 and will be reviewed in Week 3. If WA continues to have reduced cases of COVID19, some of the restrictions may be lifted as we move through the term. 
 
At this stage, from information we have received about 75% of our students will be returning to school (around 500). It is important parents are aware that with this high number returning, it will pose more of a challenge with social distancing measures. However; we will do our very best and implement strategies to reduce any risk. 
 
I will outline some key points regarding the commencement of Term 2, remembering more detailed information will be sent home on Tuesday. This will allow me to meet with staff on Tuesday and get their feedback before finalising the arrangements.
 
Arriving at School: We are requesting that students in Years 1-6 arrive at school and enter the gates between 8.30 and 8.40am. Students will go straight to their classrooms and enter. By doing this we will ensure large crowds are not standing around before school. Kindy and PP students can arrive any time between 8.40 and 9am. Staff will be waiting in the K/P grounds to welcome the children and make sure they go straight into class. All members of the leadership team will be out in the playground directing students and assisting where we can, particularly in K/P. No parents can enter the school grounds beyond the gates. This is per Department of Education guidelines. Students who arrive before this recommended time will wait outside their classroom observing social distancing until the door opens at 8.30am. I would expect this number to be minimal.
 
Departure from School: All students will be released at the end of the day at the normal time. They will leave through the gates as normal. It will be parent responsibility to let their children know of meeting arrangements for after school. Please maintain social distancing of 1.5m if waiting outside gate areas. Kindy and Pre-Primary students will be allocated a gate and staff will release them from the gate after sighting parents. Specific information on gates will come on Tuesday. At this stage, it will be Kindy from the gate on Callendar Ave at the top of the hill, PP2/TAP1 from the gate next to the staff carpark and PP3 from the gate next to the Kindy/PP carpark, located next to PP3. A diagram will come out on Tuesday.
 
Teaching Program/Classrooms
Students will be in their regular classrooms with their classroom teacher. Specialist programs will also run. Students will be doing the same program as students at home for the first couple of weeks. Students will work from desks, no mat sessions. Furniture will be spaced to maximise distance between students. Students will enter and leave classrooms observing social distancing.
 
Playground
Classes will be allocated an eating area for recess and lunch and will sit spaced out. Playgrounds will be closed for the first two weeks of school. Students are allowed to bring in their own individual play equipment (eg diablos, yoyos, balls, colouring book, skipping ropes, rubic cubes, small toy cars) More information next Tuesday on this. We cannot guarantee social distancing during play, but will endeavour to remind children each day and duty teachers will monitor this during break times. Specific year groups will be allocated a designated  play area.
 
Cleaning
Two full time cleaners have been provided by the department to clean toilets and high contact areas throughout the school day. Hand sanitiser will be in every classroom.
 
Hygiene Practices
All students will wash or sanitise their hands before eating and on entering classrooms. They will also do this if they are going to use any equipment, which will be more minimal in the first two weeks of this term.
 
Communication
I will continue my weekly update and teachers will maintain contact with you through email, CONNECT or phone if required. There will be no face to face meetings for the first two weeks of school, unless absolutely necessary. 
 
Whole School Events
Unfortunately, as a result of COVID19 all whole school and large groups are cancelled until further notice. This includes sporting events, assemblies, special days and incursions/excursions. I am hopeful restrictions will be eased as the year progresses, particularly in relation to Term 3 and Term 4. 
 
Personal Reflections
I realise this has been a challenging time for our whole school community. However; I feel we have done a terrific job working together through this crisis. If any families are experiencing any hardship due to loss of employment or personal circumstances, the school is more than happy to assist where we can. You can contact myself, Morag or Mady in the office if needed.
 
Thank you for all the lovely emails and comments on the Parent FB page for our staff. This has helped maintain our morale and lift our spirit during difficult times. We have missed our students and families and being able to do our work in the way we are accustomed. It is so disappointing our students and teachers have missed out on assemblies, incursions, excursions and extra-curricula activities such as Jogging Club, Jump Jam, choir events and sport carnivals. These are the things that add to our school culture and positive environment.
 
There has been a lot of negative information on social media reflecting that teachers are complaining and reluctant to have students on site. I feel this is unfair and does not reflect the majority of teachers thoughts and does not truly represent our reasons for concern. Teachers at Kinross PS always have their students best interests at heart. Our families (school and our own) safety and well-being is of utmost importance to us. As you can appreciate it is difficult maintaining social distancing with children, particularly the higher the numbers at school. Senior classes have up to 31 students in them and up to 24 in Years 1-3. In Pre-Primary there are 27-28 in each class this year. Children find it very difficult to keep 1.5m from each other in large groups, particularly at play. This is also impossible in a regular classroom. As the risk of community spread is lowering, we are thankful as this alleviates our concern. I am sure the whole school community hopes the COVID numbers remain low, as we move through Winter. We are very lucky to live in Western Australia where the government and public have worked together to save many lives. Unfortunately, many countries have not been as lucky. China, America, Spain, UK and other countries in the world have had many deaths as a result of this virus.
 
I would like to thank all the amazing staff at Kinross PS for their hard work, dedication, flexibility and caring through the past few weeks. I would also like to thank parents once again for your support. The Easter drive-by was a true indication that the Kinross community spirit is alive and well. 
 
Please continue supporting our school in implementing these strategies. We thank you for your understanding and patience. Things are improving slowly and I look forward to the day our school is functioning as normal. There will be a big celebration when that happens, particularly with it being our 25th Anniversary. We will never forget this year for many years to come!
 
I look forward to seeing you all soon. 
 
Kind regards,
 
Therese Gorton
Principal

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