I welcome you back to a very different Term 2 to what we were expecting when we departed at the end of Term 1! Our resumption of full face-to-face teaching has seen over 90% of our F-12 students attend school as usual from this Monday morning. It was such a joy to see friends laughing and playing as they caught up with each other following an absence of three (or more) weeks. When the Monday morning bell sounded signalling the start of classes, I even sensed an increased level of enthusiasm for the learning about to happen under their teacher’s direct personal instruction. Sometimes it requires us to almost lose something (face-to-face teaching) to stop taking it for granted!
It is important to emphasise that Emmaus’ resumption of face-to-face direct instruction does NOT represent a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, just the opposite in fact. In order to sustain face-to-face instruction (which I’m sure we would all agree is by far the most superior mode of educating our children) we have retained all the restrictions in place last term AND added more. All these measures are in place to preserve our ability to continue face-to-face instruction of your children. Consistent with last term, there will continue to be no gatherings larger than one class group therefore no assemblies or inter-class activities. Similarly there will continue to be no interaction between Emmaus students and individuals from other schools, community groups, or individuals who work across more than one school. Additionally, Term 2 will see the following:
I also ask that you once again reinforce good hygiene habits with your child at home, and encourage them to undertake these same practices at school. Ultimately our ability to deliver education face-to-face requires us all to work together and be extra vigilant in all the above matters.
As shared in my letter last Thursday, I believe it is safe for your children to return to Emmaus where they will receive the very best face-to-face education from their teachers. Although the full remote learning programs discussed at the end of last term will not be further developed at this time (as teachers are now investing primarily into face-to-face delivery preparation), the College will still provide some support for families who are not yet ready to resume the face-to-face offerings. Ultimately, it is not practical or sustainable for teachers to invest into both face-to-face and remote education simultaneously, and at this time face-to-face education is our priority.
As we anticipate restrictions easing over the weeks and months ahead, Emmaus will evaluate the many camps and excursions that have been missed, in addition to those still scheduled to take place later in the year. It may still be possible for some of these missed experiences to be rebooked later in the year, and some of the experiences scheduled later in the year may still take place as planned. However, I expect it will simply not be possible for many of these experiences to take place in 2020. This will need to be assessed on a case by case basis. A full refund will be made to families for events such as camps that do not take place by the end of the year.
Finally I would like to share a few important words of thanks. Firstly, I thank the Emmaus parent community for your continuing belief and trust in Emmaus during these challenging and uncertain times. Secondly, I would like you to join me in thanking our fabulous Emmaus Staff. Less than a week ago they were busily planning to commence Term 2 in remote education mode consistent with the Government advice at the time. This was a significant undertaking which many spent their entire holidays planning. In the shortest of time frame they have ‘re-tooled’ to the current educational approach demonstrating exceptional grace, flexibility, and professionalism.
No doubt this situation will continue to evolve which will see the need for us to continue to pull together as a community in Christ.