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22 April 2020

Term 2 arrangements

I hope you have had a restful Easter and have enjoyed precious time with…

I hope you have had a restful Easter and have enjoyed precious time with your family despite these difficult and complex days of COVID-19.

The purpose of this post is to outline the arrangements for the beginning of Term 2 at Blackfriars.

Please note: this post is available to download as a PDF at the bottom of the page.
Xin lưu ý: bài đăng này có sẵn để tải xuống bằng tiếng Việt dưới dạng PDF ở cuối trang.

The importance of Parents and Caregivers

Firstly, I begin by encouraging you to appreciate the importance of your primary role as parent/caregiver in the education of your son(s).  This has always been the wonderful privilege and responsibility of parenthood but takes on even more importance during times of global uncertainty and intense social change when you are also called upon to take a more hands-on approach to the education of your children.

Secondly, I would also stress the importance of the continuation of the established strong partnership with Blackfriars and keeping open the channels of communication with our teachers and support staff.

Your interest, encouragement, humour, and presence as your son(s) engages in on-line learning from home is very important.  We are not expecting you to take the place of the teacher(s) but asking you to help facilitate and guide your son in the home environment as best you can in the challenging circumstances you are living through.

We are here at Blackfriars to support you and your son(s).  Please use SEQTA to communicate with teachers and use the email addresses in the Blackfriars Remote Learning Guidelines to communicate with Curriculum, Pastoral and Executive staff.

The gradual flattening of the pandemic curve in South Australia is a very positive sign with very few recorded cases of community transmission in the past weeks.  This positive direction in curbing COVID-19 bodes well for a gradual and carefully scheduled return to normal school life over the coming months.

Term 2 Student Attendance

Blackfriars is open to students from the commencement of Term 2 on Monday 27 April.

Government and Health Authorities have declared that schools are safe sites for children and safe worksites for adults.  In South Australia, parents and caregivers have the choice to send children to school or to keep children home to access learning on-line.

Parents and caregivers must not send students who are unwell to school.

The attendance roll will be taken for students at school and for students on-line at home.

On Campus Attendance (Uniform)

I remind parents / caregivers that students are required to wear the approved winter uniform, including the school blazer, for Term 2.

Term 2 Mode of Curriculum Delivery

Primary School

Teachers will collaborate with Mr Frank Ali (Head of Primary) regarding the most age appropriate mode of delivery of learning for individual classes. This will include a mix of on-line provision through SEQTA and See-Saw and hard-copy materials for younger boys.

Secondary School

The mode of delivery of learning for the first two weeks of Term 2 will be via on-line learning through SEQTA and MS Teams to both students who attend school in person and to students who remain at home.  The Secondary School timetable will operate as per normal for at least two weeks.

Attendance of students and Health / Government directives will determine expectations about student attendance and the mode of delivery after the two-week period.

Microsoft Teams Audio

Following our remote learning trial, we have reviewed our extensive suite of eLearning products and in doing so have opened Microsoft Teams audio across the school.  Teachers and students can upload learning and assessment videos, and these can be accessed as required.  Students will be reminded of the school’s acceptable use of ICT policy, and further details will be disseminated to students and families regarding Microsoft Teams protocols.  I encourage you to consult our Remote Learning Guidelines and explore the instructional videos on the SEQTA parent portal. 

Health and Hygiene

The School has taken a number of measures to protect all members of our Blackfriars community.

In doing so, we have followed the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice on reducing the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools.  Parents are asked to read the guidelines available here >

The following measures have been taken at Blackfriars:

  1. Posters reminding staff and students to maintain hygiene and social distancing have been circulated and placed in all classrooms.
  2. Temporary barriers have been placed in community areas especially where members of the public access our staff
  3. Temporary floor decals have been installed in selected areas to identify social distancing measures
  4. Increased cleaning of the school has been undertaken during the break and will continue throughout Term 2. Students tables/desks/chairs have been wiped and disinfected
  5. Recess and lunch will continue to be staggered.

Social distancing principles will be implemented by staff of Blackfriars wherever possible.  Please understand that such measures are not always practical and will depend on the number of students physically present in each classroom and the flexibility of the layout of furniture in each learning area.

Assistance for Disadvantaged Students to Access the Internet

Telstra and Catholic Education South Australia have been allocated a number of Internet access points to support disadvantaged students at no cost.  NBN Co is also providing support income availability for low-income families.

I will write a separate letter to families as soon as the details of both schemes become available.

Financial Support

I remind parents and caregivers that Blackfriars is providing support to families who have lost significant income due to COVID-19.  Any family who is experiencing financial difficulty is encouraged to contact the Finance Office and we will confidentially and sensitively work through this with you.

In conclusion, Blackfriars is responding as constructively as possible during these difficult and complex times.  We are heeding all health and Government directives for the benefit of each member of our community.  We have established a safe and secure platform for student on-line learning from home and we are well prepared to support the learning and well-being of every boy in our school community.

I thank parents and caregivers for your understanding and collaboration with us during this global crisis and I ask that we continue to work closely together with open channels of communication in order to best serve the holistic needs of our students. United with a common vision and working for our common educational purpose is the best way to ensure successful outcomes for our students.

Simon Cobiac