This week, our Year 6 students are enjoying a challenging and fun time at the Ern Halliday Recreation Camp in Hillarys. I’m so happy that they made it to camp this year as it has been a very disruptive time for all of us and it will be nice to relax a bit and enjoy each other’s company away from school. As I said in the last newsletter, I believe that this camp is the best one around and it always becomes the highlight of the year for most of our students. They will be doing archery, rock wall climbing, swinging from ropes at height, flying fox, BMX riding, team building games and a game called Lost Pilot which usually gets voted as the most popular. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much! At least they will have the long weekend to recover as they will come home very tired after all of these amazing activities.
Whilst we are enjoying the freedom of fewer restrictions, we are being hit hard with staff members now catching Covid and being required to stay away for 7 days or longer. This has had a massive impact on our community with some days up to 10 staff members are away at a time. Getting relief teachers is proving to be very difficult and some of your children are seeing myself, Mrs Liebregts or Mrs Tucker in the classrooms filling in for absent teachers. Even though this takes us away from our usual work, we have loved spending time at the coal face with the beautiful Mary Mac students. There is always a silver lining to every cloud. I am really hoping that the current wave passes quickly and that we can return to a more normal routine.
Welcome back to a brand new term which suddenly looks completely different to the challenges and difficulties we faced last term with the Covid restrictions now being mostly lifted. I must say, it was wonderful being able to see everyone’s faces again as I walked around the school. With most restrictions being removed, we should be able to get back to a more normal school routine. This means we can now have our weekly assemblies where parents are welcome to attend. The same applies for whole school and class Masses on Thursday mornings and interschool sport. Parent and teacher meetings can proceed without restrictions. I think most parents are happy to hear that you can now go back into the classrooms. I did feel really bad for our Kindergarten parents at the start of the year not being able to participate in the morning routine of reading to their child or playing a game to help settle them for the day. Excursions and the camp can proceed once again which is wonderful.
This is the final newsletter of what has proven to be a very challenging and disrupted term. However, I think as a community, we have come through in good shape. Whilst most big events were cancelled or postponed, we have remained open and the staff has done a mighty job in providing the best education possible for your children under these circumstances. I ask you to please show your gratitude to any staff members you interact with as it certainly has not been an easy term. At its peak, we had to isolate seven classrooms and had as few as one hundred students turn up to school, with the rest doing some sort of remote learning for a week. All up, we have had over 70 positive cases of Covid amongst our students with many more family members infected and being required to isolate. I am really hoping that the worst is now behind us and that when we return next term, things will be mostly back to normal. I too would also like to extend my personal thanks to the whole staff as we had to deal with many rule changes, most of which were thrust upon us with very little notice. All of these changes were accepted gracefully and every endeavour was made to comply in the interests of keeping everyone safe and healthy. Let’s hope we don’t have to go through that again!
To say that the last couple of weeks at Mary Mac were extraordinary, would be an understatement! With constant changes to the restrictions made by the Health Department and the State Government, it led to a very intense and confusing time for everyone. However, from what I saw, the staff, students and parents have all been remarkable. We are told that we are now coming into the peak of caseloads in WA, which I am hoping means that things will improve quickly for us. I am also very grateful to the parents who notified us of a close contact or positive case at home. Your diligence has helped us to manage the situation. CEWA have just created a new self-reporting portal which should make it even easier for you and us to keep track of all cases in our community. A message was sent out earlier this week with all the details. You can now inform us of your situation via the link that was attached to the message. Please do not underestimate the importance of informing us of a positive Covid case. Your actions will ensure the risk to others is minimised and that we do our very best to limit the spread of the virus throughout our community. This link will also be available on our website. Again, I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this very challenging time. Let’s hope that next term looks more like a regular term and we can go back to running our school in the way we always have.