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28 January 2021

Welcome to Term 1

  • From the Principal

I welcome you back to the 2021 school year with a sense of hope and optimism following a challenging 2020. I extend a special welcome to all the families and staff joining our Emmaus community for the very first time, including our first Year 3 and 4 cohort at Brooklyn Park. It is my prayer that you will all quickly become embraced into our loving Christian community.

Last Monday, 18 January, Adam Wood (College Chaplain) guided the College Leadership team through a time of devotion, reflection, prayer, and Holy Communion using 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 as a core theme. As I reflect a little further on this passage, I am reminded that behind every careless word, feud, attack or war (stronghold) are ‘thoughts’…ungodly thoughts. ‘Thoughts’ cannot be fought with the traditional weapons of this world hence why military battles ultimately over conflicting ‘thoughts’, such as in the Middle East, are never resolved. Paul challenges us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 that rather than fight these ‘thoughts’ and their consequences with weapons of the world (hostility, revenge and retribution), we as Christians are equipped to ‘fight’ with weapons much greater. Ultimately, we are challenged to use the truth of God’s word encapsulating the love, grace, forgiveness, and hope brought to humanity through the truth of the Gospel message.

Consistent with 2 Corinthians 10:5, we are ultimately called to “take captive every thought” to promote a positive and Christ focused culture that continues to thrive at Emmaus in 2021 and beyond. To reinforce this important principle for 2021, the College leadership team utilized our artistic skills as we collaborated in the construction of the below pictured reminder of this principle that will be displayed in our weekly meetings. As a broader community, I similarly encourage you to also consider “taking captive every thought” in your personal faith journey this year.

As we start a new year, it is always important to reflect and celebrate the achievements of our departing Year 12 students, as results were only released subsequent to the final newsletter of 2020. In summary, 100% of all eligible 2020 Emmaus Year 12 students achieved their SACE with 100% of all Stage 2 SACE subjects undertaken receiving a passing grade minimum. 44% of all Stage 2 SACE subjects undertaken by Emmaus students in 2020 were awarded A grades or higher compared with only 30% across the state. 2020 also saw Emmaus students awarded 19 A+ individual SACE subject grades representing the highest possible subject grade. This represents the highest number of A+ Stage 2 SACE subject grades attained in any one year of the 42 year history of the College! Well over half of all Emmaus 2020 student ATAR’s are ranked within the top 20% of the state with the highest 2020 ATAR an impressive 98.95.

Although it was hoped that the commencement of 2021 would generally see the COVID-19 struggles of 2020 behind us, this will not be the immediate reality. The delayed, and likely less effective, roll out of the COVID vaccine coupled with newly emerging highly contagious oversees mutant strains will see at least the first part of 2021 under the same school based restrictions we saw when we departed 2020. From today (Wednesday 27 January), the 2021 updated school specific COVID regulations/restrictions provided by the SA Government and the Association of Independent Schools (SA) are summarised below:

- Staff/Students/Parents are NOT to enter the College grounds if experiencing any flu/COVID type symptoms
- High levels of personal hygiene (hand washing etc) is to continue
- Parents are NOT to enter classrooms during drop off/pick up (but may enter the school grounds – minimising duration)
- Social distancing for adults remains at 1.5m/2m2 which will continue to limit attendance at school gatherings (and parent congregation at drop off and pick up times)
- There is a Government requirement for all ‘organisations’ to have ‘Contact Tracing’ protocols in place for all ‘visitors’ which generally include registering using QR codes or a written log. This requirement also now applies to schools, which will each be provided a unique QR code. All parents/caregivers entering the school grounds for any reason (including drop off/pick up only and not entering any buildings) will need to register using this QR code system at the school gate. Students are not required to check-in as their attendance will be recorded via the normal attendance processes
- Into 2021, I expect there will continue to be the possibility of either localised or state wide COVID shutdowns of schools when positive cases/clusters are identified (to facilitate contact tracing/cleaning). Unless the circumstances in SA deteriorate significantly, I do not expect this will see any shift to remote learning as was anticipated in Term 2 2020 but a brief 2 or 3 day lock down during which students will simply continue with ongoing project based work at home.

As was the case during 2020, I will continue to keep the Emmaus community informed regarding any COVID related changes/updates. Please continue to monitor the email addresses registered with the College as this will be the means of communication regarding any COVID related school closures.

Andrew Linke