Coronavirus Update from John Cortese 14 April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome to Term 2 and our Remote Learning @NDC Program. CLICK HERE to view the details.

As you and your family transition to a new way of learning please keep your expectations of what is possible realistic. The school day schedule cannot and should not look the same as a day on-site. We are immensely proud of the way in which our students have approached the possibility of online learning. This will be different and there will be challenges along the way, but they will be overcome as we all learn how to navigate this new learning environment.

The words of Archbishop Oscar Romero may be of some comfort to us all at this time, when things aren’t quite as we might like them to be. We can’t do everything we’d like to right now, but we can do the things we’re able to, to the very best of our ability.

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”

Our staff have been exemplary in their approach to the preparation for working from home. They have been working diligently to try and ensure that the lessons that they deliver are as close as possible to the experience your child would have at school. We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated and committed team of teachers working to support your child’s ongoing learning.

We continue to follow the advice of the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) regarding the spread and response to COVID-19. We are also monitoring the advice of the Australian and Victorian Governments and the Catholic Education Office.

Last week the Victorian Government announced that from the start of Term 2 all students who can learn from home must learn from home.

Supervision for Students On-Site

As of Wednesday April 15 we will be delivering online learning. There may be a small group of students and staff who will attend on-site. Students regardless of whether they are home or on site will continue with their Remote Learning Program. Students at school will be supervised but not by one of their class teachers. If you are one of the very small number of parents that will require your child to attend school please CLICK HERE to complete the survey at least 48 hours prior to requiring supervision for your child.

Collecting Student Items from the College

Students were asked in Term 1 to take all items home from school. Any students who still have items in their lockers will need to be patient as we arrange to get these for them. If your student needs items from their locker, please contact the College Office on 5822 8400 to arrange for the items to be removed for you. This process may take up to 48 hours to arrange.

Attendance and Reporting Absences

It is an expectation that unless students are unwell, they will follow their school timetables and use this time to work on the materials provided in Google Classroom. Students will be able to contact teachers using SEQTA Direqt Message, Email or Google Classroom.

If your student cannot engage in the Remote Learning Program for any reason you should contact the College at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 5822 8400 to report their absence as you would normally when your student cannot attend school.

Staff will be setting an Attendance Question for students, on the days they would usually have a class. It is very important that students respond to these questions as any absences will be followed up. Students’ response to the SEQTA forum/Google classroom question will indicate their attendance to each lesson, no response will be recorded as absent. Attendance records will be updated by staff, by 8.30 am on SEQTA Learn and SEQTA Engage the day after the scheduled lesson.

VCE Students and VCAL Students

We continue to encourage you to keep working hard and communicating with your teachers. We will keep you up to date with new information as it comes to hand.

Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino have made it clear that students completing Year 12 will not be required to complete a Year 13.  Every effort is being made to ensure that Year 12 is completed so that students can begin their Tertiary studies in 2021. Some changes outlined including moving the GAT to October or November and the possibility of exams being held in December. If you are eligible (scored VCE), you will achieve an ATAR in 2020 and this will be used by institutions for you to start your tertiary education in 2021. As more details are released by the VCAA we will pass this on.

We do not underestimate the difficulties for Year 12 students or the range of worries they may have but it is important for us to all help them to keep moving forward. It is extremely important not to panic and to continue to work.

VCE will proceed and there will be assessments and exams to prepare for. Students should continue to work as if they were at school.  Now is not the time to become complacent. Teachers will continue to have the same expectations of students regardless of the way in which the learning is being delivered.

VCAL students will have more time to complete their courses and this will be consistent with the revised dates for the VCE. The focus for VCAL students in Term 2 and 3 will be completing all theory work with the hope that Term 4 can be used for the practical components of the course.

Events for Term 2 - The following will be cancelled/postponed/adapted:

  • All excursions and incursions, including Daborra (postponed) and Immersion Trips (cancelled)
  • Open Day
  • Year 7-12 Athletics Carnival and Trials
  • Caritas Ks (Alternative format To Be Advised)
  • Reconciliation Assembly (Alternative format To Be Advised)
  • NAPLAN
  • Year 10 Exams
  • Year 11 Exams
  • Year 11 VCAL Work Placement (Postponed)
  • Year 10 Employment Pathways – Work Placement
  • GAT (postponed)
  • All SACs scheduled for Common Study Time

*There may be others with we are currently unaware of which may also be cancelled, postponed or run in an alternative format.

Term 3 events: we will advise when we know what the situation for Term 3 will be.

Interim Reports

Students/families were issued Term 1 reports that summarised their work habits for each subject. These are available on SEQTA Learn and SEQTA Engage. Students will continue to complete assessments during the remote learning programme and feedback will be provided on SEQTA.

Self care

Remaining at home may be challenging. We encourage you to support your child to maintain their timetable and not slip into the habit of sleeping in, using their personal devices or television to avoid work. We continue to ask you to talk with your children about the situation so that they do not feel anxious or uninformed. A key component of these conversations continues to be assuring them that they are safe now. Developing good study and sleep routines, getting some exercise and healthy eating will all promote positive mental and physical health.

For those who are feeling overwhelmed, our Wellbeing Support Service continues to be available to support students from 9am - 4pm Monday - Friday.  At this stage we are offering support via the College email system.  Students can self-refer for support via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You are also able to contact Fran Smyth - Wellbeing Support Service Leader: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Heads of House are also available for families for any questions that might arise. These can be contacted by email or through SEQTA engage.

Cyber Violence

Top tips for parents in protecting their kids online include:

  • using parental controls in apps and devices to monitor and limit what your child does online
  • setting time limits for using devices during non-school hours
  • keeping your kids in open areas of the home when using their devices
  • turning on or reviewing privacy settings to restrict who contacts your child in apps and games, and
  • keeping engaged through co-view and co-play by joining in with your child’s online activities.

For more information and resources in online safety this school holiday period visit: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/blog/covid-19-online-risks-reporting-and-response

Thank you for your support and patience over this time. We will continue to consult with you and keep you updated as the situation unfolds for us.

 

John Cortese
Principal

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