Principal's Update Week 11
Posted: 25-Mar-2020

I thought I would provide one final communication for the term during this most unusual time. Following students finishing on Monday, staff collaborated to ensure that they had a shared understanding of our Remote Learning Plan on Tuesday and on Wednesday the Teaching and Learning Support staff began working from home. Other staff in teams delivering other functions across the College have been progressively moving to work from home.

The principle that we are seeking to engage is minimising the opportunity for the spread of the virus. We are planning for remote delivery from the start of next term. It is important to note that there is a change to the school calendar. We had listed classes as beginning on Tuesday, 14th April. This will now be Wednesday 15th April, to allow staff to collaborate prior to the first day of remote delivery.

For the Damascus community connectedness will be very important as we move into an anticipated period of changed delivery. Please ensure that as a family, you are familiar with our Remote Learning Manual that has been emailed home or can be accessed through the Parent Access Module (PAM). One of the key attributes of this plan will be having young people up and ready to go at the start of the day with email being the first point of contact for TA’s and class teachers.

Assistant Principal of Student Wellbeing, Andrew Robertson has put together a resource to support student wellbeing and the available supports. Included in the information is how to access our counselling team and I commend it to you here. There are some terrific online opportunities for students to access. Sites such as Kids Help Line, eheadspace, Counselling Online and Beyond Blue are wonderful sites that provide advice or one to one counselling opportunities.

As of 4pm today, the physical Damascus front office will be closed. There will be no office support tomorrow as the College is closed for the day. We are upgrading our phone system on Monday and Tuesday (this has been planned for months), so phone calls may not be answered on these days. From Wednesday next week, you will be able to phone the College on the regular number.

Throughout the time of remote learning, we encourage email to be the primary source of communication. General enquiries can be directed to; info@damascus.vic.edu.au

Our Technology team have also been doing an amazing job in their efforts to scale our support for remote learning, and I acknowledge their great work. They also have a contact email; helpdesk@damascus.vic.edu.au.

I need to reiterate that as we move to a different mode of delivery, things will likely take longer. Teachers will not agilely be able to address matters to the whole class as they would in the classroom and support staff will need to work through the number of enquiries that we will inevitably receive. We seek your patience and understanding, and this will equally be important for students.

I am aware that many parents will have lost significant employment or business income due to coronavirus. At this time, our position as a Catholic school, in the Mercy and Diocesan tradition, is very clear that families will be supported in times of need. The school’s immediate priority is to provide as much stability as possible for your young person/people and with this in mind, we are committed to providing flexible and confidential financial assistance to support you with managing your school fee commitments for 2020. If this is an issue for you, please get in touch with us to discuss the options. We do care, and if you need help, please reach out by contacting fees@damascus.vic.edu.au.

This Sunday is the 5th Week of the Season of Lent, and while services are cancelled in Churches, there are resources that can assist the life of faith. Some of the variety of tools can be found here.

The reading this week is from John’s Gospel and contains this remarkable quote;

“I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though they may die, they will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

As Sister Veronica Lawson reflects, “Right now, in the face of a pandemic, we are called, as sisters and brothers across the globe, to play our part so that this illness may lead to greater love and even to ‘Life’.”

My next communication will be prior to our return next term, as we know more.


Enjoy the break with your beautiful families. Stay safe …

MATT 

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