07 May 2020

Remote Learning and COVID-19 Updates

Article by Mr Michael Exton

Remote Learning and COVID-19 Updates

Remote and Flexible Learning and Teaching - Term 2.

Remote and Flexible Learning and Teaching

Information and Protocols for parents and students to support Remote and Flexible Learning

Information about the delivery of our VCE and VCAL program

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

This article will be updated regularly to ensure parents/guardians are kept informed of any new advice or changes as matters arise.

Mr Michael Exton Principal

Update 13th May 2020

Re phased return to classroom learning

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you for all your support during these past few weeks of remote and flexible learning.

Following advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) have advised that schools can begin a phased return to onsite schooling.

In the first stage, students in Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2, senior secondary students (Years 11 and 12 VCAL and VCE) and all students in specialist schools will return to school from Tuesday 26 May.

Arrangements for Year 10 students undertaking VCE/VET studies are as follows:

  • Year 10 students undertaking VCE studies in classes with Year 11 students, includingVCE VET studies, should also attend school for those classes where practicable. If this is not possible for your daughter/son, our teachers will make sure the work provided to students attending at school is also provided to your daughter/son.
  • Year 10 students unable to travel home at the end of their scheduled VCE/VET classes may be supervised at school for the remainder of the day while they undertake their other classes online.
  • Year 10 students undertaking VCE classes with only Year 10 students in the class will remain at home until the second stage commences and continue to undertake these classes remotely.

To support all school staff to prepare for this transition, Monday 25 May will be a studentfree day.

In the second stage of our return to onsite schooling, all other year levels will return to school from Tuesday 9 June.

For those students who cannot be supervised at home as well as vulnerable children, the existing model of onsite schooling will remain in place during the two-week period from Tuesday 26 May to Tuesday 9 June. The current process that we are using to enable parents and carers to indicate the days or part-days for which onsite schooling is required will continue for this two-week period.

All other students in those year levels will continue learning from home until Tuesday 9 June.

Once a year level has returned, all students will be expected to attend school as normal. Thismeans if you choose to keep your daughter/son home after their year level has returned to onsite schooling, we can no longer deliver their learning from home.

This does not apply to students who need to be absent for health or medical reasons. For those families, please contact the appropriate Year Level Coordinator so we can make an appropriate plan.

This same approach is being taken by all Catholic and government schools in Victoria.

To support the health and wellbeing of all students and staff, our school will continue an enhanced cleaning routine and will encourage frequent handwashing.

If your daughter/son is ill or is feeling unwell, they must not attend school. They must remain home and seek medical advice.

While the Chief Health Officer has advised that students will not be required to maintain physical distancing at school, there will be a number of important changes to our school operations, consistent with health advice to all schools that will be made available in coming days. These will apply until further notice. I will provide more details about our local school context as soon as possible, but it is important to note that changes will include:

  • restrictions on access to the school site for anyone other than immediate school staff and students;
  • students will need to bring a water bottle and not use shared drinking fountains; and
  • adjustments to the way we conduct parent–teacher meetings and interviews.

We understand that some families may feel anxious about this move back to classroom teaching and learning. I can assure you that this decision has been taken on the basis of the best health advice available to our state.

More information about the return to school and coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the CECV website, which will continue to be updated: www.cecv.catholic.edu.au/Coronavirus-information-for-parents.

Thank you for your continued support and patience during this time. We look forward to welcoming our students back to the classroom.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Exton Principal

Update 4th May 2020

Please find attached an article by our Companions Coordinator, Caleb Ryan. Our Companions Ladder program is an important part of what we offer at Saint Ignatius College, and Caleb has provided some suggestions on ways you can continue to build and foster those important relationships with the young people in your household during the time of social isolation.

Update 29th April 2020

Notice of Cancellation of Semester 1 2020 Examinations for Years 9 -11

Dear parents and guardians,

As we continue to monitor the delivery of our curriculum to all students, Saint Ignatius College has made the decision to cancel Semester 1 examinations for all students in Years 9, 10 and 11 at the school.

This decision will stand regardless of any changes relating to remote and flexible learning arrangements between now and the end of this term.

Careful consideration has been placed into this decision by the teachers at the school. Structured consultation with curriculum leaders, year level coordinators, student well-being officers as well as the College Critical Incident Management Team has been taken into account in arriving at this decision.

Unanimous consensus has determined that to proceed with formal examinations previously scheduled for Weeks 9 and 10 of this term would be extremely difficult for students already dealing with the challenges of learning remotely. It is important that we ensure current learning can be undertaken and completed with more time than can normally be achieved with face-to-face delivery. To add an expectation of study and preparation for examinations in addition to coping with current learning has been deemed both unreasonable and ineffective.

Depending on the subject and the year level involved, teachers may choose to modify existing assessment tasks in place of the Semester 1 exam and/or adjust the weighting of these tasks in determining the overall percentage grade for that individual subject.

Please note that in keeping with the VCAA decision to extend Unit 3 studies, our Semester One learning and teaching program for all Unit 1 studies has been extended to the last day of Term Two, Friday June 26th. The Semester Two program will subsequently commence on Tuesday July 14th.

In cancelling the formal examinations for the current semester, we wish to advise that there will be Semester 2 examinations for all students in Years 9, 10 and 11 in the second half of the current school year. Once the College has been provided with further clarity from the VCAA and relevant State education authorities as well as any directives from Catholic Education Melbourne [CEM], information will be provided to students and parents with regard to dates and arrangements for these Semester 2 examinations.

In closing, I take this opportunity to thank you all for your understanding and continuing support as we respond to the challenges confronting schools in these uncertain times.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Annette Chidzey Deputy Principal [Learning & Teaching]

Update 9th April, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Re: Transition to flexible and remote learning – provision of supervision at the College

As you are aware, following State Government advice, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) has advised that Catholic schools should move to remote and flexible learning at the commencement of Term 2.

“This means that, from the start of Term 2, all students who can learn from home must learn at home.”

Saint Ignatius College will commence remote and flexible learning for our students on Wednesday, 15th April 2020. (Teachers will begin on Tuesday 14th April.)

While it is expected that all students should be learning from home, schools have been asked to consider making supervision arrangements available at school for students in the following categories:

Children who are not able to be supervised at home and on days when no other arrangements can be made. This includes children of parents who cannot work from home, and vulnerable children, such as:

• children in out-of-home care

• children deemed by Child Protection and/or Family Services to be at risk of harm

• children identified by the school as vulnerable (including via referral from a family violence agency, homelessness or youth justice service, mental health or other health services, and children with a disability).

To assess the need for supervision, we need to know how many students we would need to cater for.

If your daughter or son is in one of the categories mentioned above, and you would like to indicate your interest in her or him being supervised at the College while she or he undertakes the remote and flexible learning, please send an email message by 12 noon Tuesday 14th April 2020 to dpoffice@ignatius.vic.edu.au and provide for each student:

• Student name

• Year Level & Homeroom name

• Days of the week attending school

• Brief reason for the need for supervision at school.

We will then contact you via email to let you know what arrangements can be put in place.

Some preliminary considerations include:

• Commencement of supervision on Thursday 16th April;

• 8:45 am to 3:05 pm;

• Transport to & from school will need to be provided by parents (at the time of writing this message, we have no advice about bus availability);

• No canteen, students to bring their own food & drink bottle;

• Social distancing would be expected as much as possible;

• The student would need to be well;

• Neat casual clothes;

• Supervision would be from a distance while students work using their laptops as if they were at home; and

• Students sign in and out at the front College office.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Exton Principal

Update 7th April, 2020

Dear Parents, Students and Staff Members,

Given this morning’s announcement by the Premier about arrangements for Term Two schooling, the Catholic Education Commission Victoria (CECV) has provided advice that our College will be following from the start of Term 2 2020.

While this preliminary contact is relatively brief, more detailed information will be provided via a second email from me on Thursday 9th April once further consultation has occurred. In this update, I will outline specific advice related to Term 2 curriculum delivery and VCE

arrangements in keeping with today’s advice to Catholic schools.

Term 2 arrangements

On the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Catholic Education Commission Victoria (CECV) has advised that all Victorian Catholic schools are required to transition to remote and flexible learning arrangements for Term 2. Given this advice, our students will commence remote learning from Wednesday 15th April. (Teachers and Education Support Officers will commence work for the new term on Tuesday 14th April.)

The Chief Health Officer has advised that these arrangements should remain in place for the duration of Term 2 and will then be reviewed.

Given the government objective act to slow the spread of coronavirus, schools have been asked to communicate to students and parents that all children who can learn at home must learn from home.

Schools are able to make exceptions for children of parents who cannot work from home, and vulnerable children.

Parents will be informed via email on Thursday 9th April about how they can access this supervision at our College and what arrangements we will put in place for this.

VCE update

The Victorian Premier and Minister for Education have also announced the following changes to VCE studies.

VCE students will still receive an ATAR, but there will be a number of adjustments to the academic timetable for VCE and VCAL students:

• The GAT will move from June to October or November
• End-of-year exams will be postponed until at least December
• School-based assessment tasks will be reduced where possible to relieve some pressure on students as they move to remote and flexible learning arrangements
• Universities will be asked to delay the start of the 2021 university year to account for the impact of coronavirus on senior secondary students.

VCE study scores will continue to be a combination of school-based assessment and external exams.

VCAL students will have more time to complete their courses and this will be consistent with the revised dates for the VCE.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is also examining a compressed end-of-year exam schedule – including slightly shortening each exam – in recognition of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

A small number of students undertaking VET may have the award of their VCE or VCAL delayed until the beginning of 2021, so that they can complete mandatory practical or workplace learning requirements – ensuring they are not disadvantaged by the lack of hands-on practice.

Making this transition to remote learning and teaching is understandably going to be challenging for us all. Continuity of learning is vitally important. We have been planning for this transition and are well-prepared. There is, however, still a great deal that we are going to learn over the coming weeks as we, along with other schools, implement remote learning & teaching.

Thank you in anticipation of your support for and understanding of, the need to move to remote learning and teaching. It is important that we work together in partnership to maintain learning for our students under these tough and trying times for all in our community whilst also ensuring the health and safety of all members of our school and the wider community. We look forward to the time when school resumes on campus but until that is possible, please be assured that we will do all we can to support our school objective to work together to maintain our students’ ability to learn in changed circumstances.

In closing, I reiterate that we will provide families with important information this Thursday to further support the transition to learning from home.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Exton Principal

Update 6th April 2020

Update 2nd April 2020

Update 23rd March 2020

PDFs and website links noted in the above letter:

- Australian Psychological Society information

- World Health Organization (WHO)

Mental health and wellbeing support and advice for students and parents:

Lifeline: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Support specifically for students:

- Headspace fact sheet

- Kids Helpline support: https://kidshelpline.com.au/coronavirus#wellbeing

Update 23rd March 2020

Update: March 18th 2020