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Covid-19 Update (23/04/20) – Arrangements for Term 2, 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to you during the school holidays to let you know about the arrangements for Term 2 and what it will mean for Millen Primary School.  I apologise that this communication is long; however, there is a lot of information to cover so that you can make an informed decision.

On Friday, 17 April the State Government made an announcement about next term.  Following this, the Department of Education wrote to Principals outlining the operational model and guidelines to be followed.  I have worked through this detail with the Millen PS Leadership Team and want to communicate with you about what to expect next term.  This information may change but is accurate at the time of publishing.

Announcement
  • On Friday, 17 April it was announced that public schools would be open for Term 2 and that parents can choose to send their children to school.  The only students encouraged to attend are Year 11 & 12 students. 
  • It was also announced that schools would be required to introduce a range of additional hygiene and social distancing measures to make schools safer for students and staff.
  • The Minister for Education has acknowledged that children find social distancing and good personal hygiene very difficult and has indicated parents may feel they can provide a higher level of safety supervising their children at home.
  • Some parents are unable to supervise their children at home due to employment requirements.  We have staff in the same situation and we realise that some students will need to attend school.

The State Government has given parents a choice about whether their children return to school for face-to-face teaching or learn from home.  Many parents are confused about what school will look like in the first few weeks of Term 2. To help you to make an informed decision this letter will outline the adjustments and changes we will make at Millen.

  1. Social distancing

One way to slow the spread of the virus is physical distancing (also called social distancing). There are measures schools can take to support physical distancing and reduce transmission within the practical limitations of a school environment.

  • Students usually share a desk, however, since these desks are only 1.2m they don’t allow 1.5m between students. If less than 50% of students attend, students can have individual desks, however, beyond this, students will be required to share a desk as per usual.
  • Students will be allocated marked places on the mat (however this will only be practical with very low student numbers).
  • Movement around a classroom will be affected by the number of students in the room and how they are seated.  Movement is restricted by people remaining 1.5 m away from each other. Therefore, students may be required to stay seated at their allocated desks during teaching and learning time.
  • Maintaining smaller classes will be a consideration but this will only be possible with low student numbers.
  • We are required to keep students 1.5 m away from each other at recess and lunch.  This will be done to the best of our ability and with sensitivity and understanding.
  • Student work will be completed and submitted electronically where feasible.
  • Student work will be handed to the teacher for feedback later rather than feedback being provided by the teacher in close proximity to the student.

Parents should not expect that their child will be taught in their usual classroom or be taught by their usual teacher.  We will spread students around all spaces available and classes may be split if required with some students in a different location with a specialist or relief teacher.

  1. No parents or visitors on the school site

The State Government has announced that parents, carers and community members are not permitted on-site, including after hours.

  • Parents and visitors will be required to drop and collect their children at designated areas. Pick up and drop off times will be staggered. See table below:

 

Kindergarten Pre-primary Years 1 and 2 Years 3 – 6 Out of School Care
Drop off/Pick up area Gate to ECE area (outside Kindy Room 15) off Ramsden Avenue

 

 

Gate to PP area off Pinedale Street (outside Room 17 Pre-primary classroom) Undercover area (or enter and leave the school grounds independently or with siblings if parents notify the school) Children enter and leave school grounds independently (unless there is a request otherwise) K, P and 1 children escorted to pick up area outside office by school staff. Handover at office
Drop off time 8.30 – 8.45am 8.30 – 8.45am 8.15 – 8.30am 8am – 8.30am 8.30am

 

Pick up time 2.15- 2.30pm

 

2.15 – 2.30pm 2.30 – 2.45pm 2.45pm 2.45pm
  • When children are required to be collected early, parents need to telephone the office to make arrangements.
  • Children arriving late will continue to come through the school office. Parents will be required to drop their children at the door.
  1. Hygiene and health

The State Government is providing additional funding to expand school cleaning, in line with health advice.  Cleaners will work throughout the day to give extra attention to areas, such as benchtops, desks, doorknobs, taps and handrails and toilets.

Please also note that students and staff showing any signs of illness are NOT permitted to attend school. Any student showing signs of being unwell at school will be sent home immediately.

  • The government will be providing additional funds for cleaning staff. We have increased our cleaners’ hours however we still need to employ additional staff.
  • Schools have been instructed to clean playgrounds before school and after each break. Our cleaners will not be cleaning the senior playground for Occupational Health and Safety reasons therefore it will be closed until further notice.
  • We will continue to encourage students to follow the good hygiene practices taught last term. We will continue to provide soap and hand sanitiser and timetable hand washing.
  • We encourage all children to bring their own water bottles and to avoid drinking directly from water fountains.
  1. The learning program

The State Government has announced that students who attend school will be taught a face-to-face program and that schools will provide for those learning from home.  For those children who are learning from home, schools are required to contact families each week by phone and/or online.

  • The children who remain at home will receive their first weekly Learning at Home with Millen Primary School package on Wednesday, 29 April and then every Monday thereafter. Further details are on our website http://millenps.wa.edu.au/learning-programs/learning-at-home/
  • All students attending school will be working on the same curriculum as those at home since this reflects the planning undertaken by teachers for the term.
  • The Department of Education has advised teachers they will be required to teach either children at school or children at home. Therefore, children may not be taught by their usual teacher in their usual classroom. The timetable will not be the usual timetable. The way our classes are structured and the teaching responsibilities allocated to each teacher will be dependent upon the number of children who return to school.
  • Specialist teachers and relief teachers may need to cover the teaching of students. This means the suspension of our specialist timetable for the time being.
  • Schools have been encouraged to be adaptable and flexible when delivering learning during this uncertain time.  There is no educational advantage to attending Millen PS for face-to-face teaching. Likewise, there is no educational disadvantage to learning at home.  All children will be learning the same curriculum, which was planned by teachers during Term 1.
Important dates

Please note the following dates:

  • You will receive a short survey to help us plan for next term on Thursday 23 April (today). Please complete this by Tuesday.
  • Monday 27 April is a public holiday for ANZAC Day.
  • Tuesday 28 April is a pupil free day.
  • From Wednesday 29 April, school is open for all students whose parents/carers choose to send them.
  • Learning at Home with Millen Primary School year level weekly learning programs will be distributed on Wednesday 29 April via Connect and every Monday thereafter.  Hard copy work packages were distributed to families without access to technology at the end of last term.

The staff of Millen PS are thinking of you and your children as we all navigate through this difficult time. Our aim is to remain connected with you and support you in any way we can. The school staff look forward to the day when social distancing is eased and we can go back to providing education in a normal school setting.

Kind regards,

Isobel Comrie
Principal
23 April 2020

 

 

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