← UPDATED Advice on Coronavirus
UPDATE #3 - 27/03/2020
With the announcement made yesterday, about Week 10 (next week) being a Student Free Week, there are some key pieces of information parents and carers need to know.
Time to Prepare
The focus for teaching staff is to prepare units of work for Term 2, in preparation for alternative learning. Being able to deliver differentiated learning, whilst students are at home, requires a considerable amount of time to prepare. Teachers will not be delivering units of work next week, for curriculum learning. Essentially, students will have a three-week holiday. We do not know if this alternative learning will eventuate in Term 2, however we have been told by the governing authorities, to prepare for this very real possibility.
During next week, we will communicate with you about 1 (one) day where we need to test this ‘learning from home’ arrangement. As a College community, we ask you to engage with us, to allow us to assess the platforms and identified areas for success and further development. Stay tuned for more information regarding this early next week.
All assessment that was planned to occur in Week 10, has been postponed. Individual teachers will communicate alternative measures in due course.
Thank you to those who have contacted the school to indicate they need their children cared for next week. Please note that this is ‘supervision’ and not normal school.
• Junior School students are to make their way to the Year 6 area.
• Middle and Senior School students to the HUB upstairs.
Their attendance will be marked upon their arrival. Normal drop-off and pick up rules and times apply. Students are to wear their Sports uniform and bring their lunch.
The Government has said that buses will run as normal. We have no reason to believe this is not still the case.
No doubt you are all aware about the rules around social distancing. Importantly, during these student free days and holidays, the police do not want to see students congregating at shopping centres and public places. Shopping centres are for those shopping for essentials only, police will be patrolling and moving on anyone with no business being there. I would encourage you to do your part in abiding by these rules so we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.
I do hope this information helps parents and carers understand next week in more detail. My desire is to make sure you as parents and carers understand what is happening each and every step of the way as we navigate this pandemic together. Have a blessed weekend, stay safe and keep our nation in prayer.
UPDATE #2 - 26/03/2020
As the COVID-19 response continues to develop and change, we have received further updates today that effect the operations of schools in order to prepare for an alternative learning arrangement.
This morning, the Queensland Premier and Education Minister announced that all schools are to go to Student Free Days from Monday 30 March to Friday 3 April inclusive. School holidays will continue as normal, and at this time, school will return as normal for Term 2, Monday 20 April.
The Student Free Days have been provided to allow schools the opportunity to plan for continuity of student learning, in the event that the education sector needs to move to alternative learning arrangements at the commencement of Term 2. At this stage, OSHC, Vacation Care and Chrysalis ELC are still operating as normal.
Continuity of Learning
Our mission is to provide a Christ-centred education within a caring environment equipping students to make a positive impact on the world around them. This mission will not change. We will be using this week to develop our own learning contingency plans, based on our existing curriculum planning and applying our unique knowledge of our students, our communities and our context to ensure we are prepared.
During the Student Free Week, teaching staff will be testing their alternative learning arrangements as part of their preparation. We will communicate with parents in greater detail as to what this looks like in due course. We do require that parents and students engage with us to help us provide authentic learning opportunities.
If you are an essential worker and are unable to organise other supervision arrangements for your child, please contact the Main Reception. We will have supervision available during this time. If you have already contacted the College, there is no need to contact us again.
I would like to assure you that our decisions are being made in response to the latest most accurate information issued to us directly. Sometimes the direction changes, and this can be challenging for all of us. Be assured that our decision-making is based on best practice, expert advice and in conjunction with our College Board.
Finally, I would remind you of the Lord’s peace during this time. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You Keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” I pray that we would be a community of peace and a community that looks out for and helps one another during these uncertain times.
UPDATE - 26/03/2020
I would like to continue to thank you for your support and understanding during these uncertain and changing times. There are regular updates as the COVID-19 virus continues to escalate and new measures are put in place.
With the support of the College Board, and in accordance with the latest information from both State and Federal Government, our school will remain open until we are advised otherwise. We have been informed that the operations of schools might change in the future, however this is the advice given so far.
Student Free Days
In preparation for alternative learning environments, I would like to advise you that Thursday 2 April and Friday 3 April will be Student Free Day. During these days, staff will be working tirelessly to test, troubleshoot and finalise alternative learning arrangements, in preparation for the possibility that Term 2 will look different.
At this stage, dependent on the official health and government advice, we intend on returning to school for the commencement of Term 2, on Monday 20 April. Further communication will be issued confirming the details of the decided format of learning.
I understand for some parents and carers, this decision may have some impact. If you are an essential worker and are unable to organise other supervision arrangements for your child, and they are in the Junior School, please contact the Main Reception. We will have face to face learning opportunities at the school during this time.
As a parent myself, navigating the right thing to say with my children about COVID-19, is a challenge. I would encourage you to be informed and positive about the situation in front of your children. For more information about this see the button below for further resources.
I am sure you can understand that our staff are under enormous pressure. They are doing a wonderful and professional job at managing their own concerns, preparing and teaching face to face lessons whilst developing alternative learning arrangements. It is true that our absentee rates are rising as parents are choosing to keep their children at home. At this point in time, our focus is on face to face teaching and learning. Please be understanding that if your child is absent from school, that their teacher is probably in class. They will do their best to get back to you in a timely manner.
Look after each other
Finally, it is in these times where, we as a community, can find ourselves isolated. I would encourage you to be intentional, reach out to friends and parents in our community. The social distancing can impact on our well-being if we allow it to. A challenge I’d like to set you: ‘who have I reached out to today?’ It is through little things we exercise intentionality, and we strengthen our community.
UPDATE - 23/03/2020
As Principal, it is important to ensure our communication with you is consistent and informed. There has been a lot of discussion over the weekend from the Prime Minister and National Cabinet around the functioning of schools, with some states making individual decisions. On the advice of the chief health and medical officers, it is agreed that “pre-emptive closure of schools is not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.” We as a College, are doing everything we can to ensure the teaching and learning of your child continues in the face of this pandemic.
In line with the clear Government advice we have received, the College will continue in its current form until we are instructed otherwise. Our current focus areas include:
- Communication—we are being deliberate in keeping families informed with regular updates, so students and parents know the current state of play.
- Alternative learning arrangements—teachers are testing their means of alternative learning arrangements with students and parents, in anticipation of a mandated closure.
- Social Distancing—measures have been put in place to encourage students keep their space, both inside and outside.
- Hygiene—staff and students are taking the time throughout the day to ensure appropriate hygiene measures are occurring multiple times a day. We will continue to operate in line with current, leading hygiene practices.
- Cleaning—our cleaners have increased cleaning practices, in line with new protocols.
You may have heard that NAPLAN testing has been cancelled for this year. The Education Council, consisting of all education ministers, indicated that the decision was “taken to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education”.
With so much uncertainty about the future, I would like to remind you of our commitment to provide innovative and engaging learning opportunities for your child. We understand that some of you may have had changes to your work situations. If your work circumstances have resulted in a substantial change of income, please have the conversation with our accounts team prior to making any decisions about the enrolment of your child or children.
Support each other
I would also like to remind people that we can support each other. Our Business Chamber is one practical way we can support small business (www.bcc.net.au/community/bcc-business-chamber).
How you can help
We are asking parents to support us at home by doing the following:
- Please reinforce the need for hand-washing regularly as well as ensuring good hand coverage and suitable amount of washing occurs (20 seconds)
- Remind children not to touch their faces (or only to do so directly after hand washing)
- Reinforce that sneezing should be done into their elbow
- Students need to stay at home if anyone is feeling unwell
- Please ensure all lunch boxes and bags are cleaned thoroughly each night. Drinking containers also should be sanitized each night.
- Students should not bring handkerchiefs to school rather be supplied with their own small pack of tissues. (Students are also able to bring their own hand sanitizer if they wish).
- Students should not be sharing their equipment. Please ensure they have what they require each day to limit any unnecessary contact/transmission
- Parents should also now have a long-term strategy in place for childcare/supervision if schools close (even if this is not needed to be enacted).
There is much to consider and plan each day as and when announcements are made at a state and national level. We are doing our best to keep you informed and deliver our message to the community in a measured way. As a College, we thank you for your ongoing concern, support and prayers.
We do not know what the future holds, however I am comforted knowing that the Lord is journeying with us. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
UPDATE - 18/03/2020
The COVID-19 virus is a very challenging situation, and I am especially grateful for how we are responding to such an unknown quantity. In my previous correspondence to the community, I stated that we are preparing should a case of COVID-19 be identified in our College community. The College, with the support of the College Board, is acting upon advice from all relevant Government departments, both nationally and state.
Our response to COVID-19 is all about being informed, measured and helping the wider community with the containment of this virus.
Updated Operational Matters
After much consideration and consultation, I wish to inform you of the following decisions, as of Thursday 19 March 2020:
- Volunteer’s will no longer be able to help in the daily life of the College, which includes the BCC Academy of Sports and the RISE Café.
- The RISE Café will be closed until further notice.
- Parents and carers are to use the drop off/pick up areas and not park and walk into the College grounds. We will have staff available to help our younger students get to their classrooms from the drop off areas.
- All Term 1 excursions will be postponed until further notice.
- The BCC Academy of Sport program will cease for the remainder of Term 1.
- Term 1 Parent/Teacher interviews will be postponed until further notice.
- All District, Regional, State, Interstate and National School Sport trials and events have been cancelled indefinitely.
As a College, I believe this is the best way to help contain the spread of this virus, whilst acknowledging that I look forward to the day where we can all meet and engage in face to face conversations with parents, students and staff.
We continue to expect that all parents and carers within the College community will ensure that they are aware of and comply with these Government and College requirements.
If there were to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the College community, under the direction of the Department of Health, it will most likely result in a short-term closure for cleaning and identification of those with close contact for isolation. In these situations, to date, schools have generally reopened within a matter of days
As a public health strategy, a broader mandated closure of our school will result in a longer-term closure. In this event, it will likely take months before we can open again. The danger for our school is not just closing too late, but also reopening too early again and exposing students and staff to still lingering infection
Should we need to close the College and students be required to continue their learning at home, we will move to delivering our teaching and learning on other familiar platforms. Below this letter is what this looks like for each department, year level and/or teacher. We will be talking to and showing our students about this over the next few days. It is our goal to ensure that we remain equipped to deliver our teaching and learning programs.
Finally, I want to leave you with a reminder to us as Christians: "For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and of self-discipline" (2 Tim 1:7). In these uncertain times, I encourage you to seek strength in the truth found in His word.
We will continue to keep you updated as and when there are significant changes or new developments. We encourage you to remain personally informed of the latest Government advice and invite you to stand with us in prayer for our nation and immediate community.
UPDATE - 15/03/2020
I am writing to further update you on the changing situation in response to COVID-19.
The National Cabinet met today, and the Prime Minister has confirmed the following:
• Schools will remain open and respond to local issues as required and on the advice of health authorities
• All international travel arrivals will be required to self-quarantine on arrival back in Australia for a period of 14 days
• Mass gatherings of 500+ people are not to proceed
• For other non-essential gatherings, consider the need to proceed and the issues of health and hygiene/social distancing as further mitigations to the spread of the virus
This has a significant impact on the operations of the College. The various impacts this has on daily life in the College and how we are currently dealing with this pandemic is outlined below.
We need to ensure the health and safety of our students, families and staff as best we can. As such, the following temporary measures are being put in place as of Monday 16, 2020:
• Assemblies and Chapel will not be held in JS, MS & SS
• The Years 3-6 Swimming Carnival will be postponed to a later date and will not be held on Friday 20 March, 2020
• The P&F Bush Dance will be postponed to a later date and will not be held on Saturday 21 March, 2020
The Australian Government announced that all people arriving in Australia must now self-isolate for 14 days on their arrival back to Australia, from midnight tonight.
If this applies to you or you are planning an overseas trip, please contact Katrina Daniels at the College and let her know of all relevant details (travel destinations, dates, etc). She can be reached by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Continuity of Teaching and Learning & School Business Operations
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we are preparing our contingency plans to ensure our students can access their learning online. We will be communicating this with you in a timely manner should we be required to close for a period of time.
In the meantime, we are taking all necessary actions to support health and hygiene within the College community. We ask that you speak with your children about personal health and hygiene and discuss with them the following:
• Washing your hands often with soap (or alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and water before and after eating, as well as after using the toilet
• Avoid contact with others (including touching, hugging, hand shaking)
• Coughing and sneezing into your elbow rather than your hand or open space
• Keeping an appropriate distance between yourself and others
• Disposing of used tissues and materials with bodily fluids, in an appropriate manner.
At this stage, we are continuing to allow volunteers to continue in the same manner as they have so far this year. Upon entering and exiting the College, please avail yourself of the hand sanitisers.
As we have already seen across the world, this situation is likely to continue for some time and is changing and as such, our preparations must be for the short, medium and long term.
As our response to COVID-19 is all about containment, I ask that you continue to take all necessary actions to support the health and hygiene in our College community and act in a protective and preventative manner to help limit the spread of this novel coronavirus.
Thank you for your vigilance in minimising the risk to your children, staff and community during this time.
As the current situation regarding the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to rapidly develop, I need to inform you that we are closely following advice from Queensland Health and are continually planning to be prepared for potential impact upon the Bundaberg Christian College community.
The College Executive have been preparing and stand ready to act should a case of COVID-19 be identified in our school. If this occurs, we will work closely with Queensland Health to guide us in terms of containment and continued operations. As continuity of learning is extremely important to us, we will ensure students are prepared and equipped to continue classes externally.
During this time, the health and wellbeing of our students remains our number one priority. The new measures the College has put in place, is that we are now asking our College families to follow a new protocol for unwell students:
Should your child demonstrate one or more of the following symptoms listed below, we ask that your child remain at home and contact your general practitioner for advice. At this point in time it is recommended, that these symptoms be treated as a common cold / influenza.
- Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
An exception applies to cases involving contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or travel from a high risk region. Such cases may involve additional requirements.
In the meantime, the College is continuing to enhance hygiene delivery across our campus. We are asking all students, parents and staff to do their part in reducing risk in preventing the spread of germs by:
- Washing your hands often with soap (or alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and water before and after eating, as well as after using the toilet;
- Avoid contact with others (including touching, hugging, hand shaking);
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow rather than your hand or open space;
- Keeping an appropriate distance between yourself and others;
- Disposing of used tissues and materials with bodily fluids, in an appropriate manner.
As this is a continually changing and difficult situation, it is important to remember that we need to be prayerful, measured and considerate of how we manage and approach this potential risk.
For BCC families, we require that anyone follows these guidelines and immediately notify the College Enrolments Officer by phone 07-4132 5800.
Update to Travel Restrictions
The Australian Government today added Italy to the list of travel restrictions, alongside China, Iran and South Korea. The Commonwealth travel advice follows the decision that all school/departmental international student and staff travel should not proceed until further notice for all destinations other than New Zealand.