The past week or so, with all students back on site, has been a really positive experience for the majority of our community. Most students have settled back in with little adjustment needed, and while a few have needed emotional and pastoral support, there have been many ready to lend a hand and some additional support. It has certainly been delightful to hear the laughter and teen-noise around the campus again.
We continue to encourage students to take their health seriously and to remain vigilant about cleanliness and distancing wherever possible. We have had a number of students sent home with various illnesses, some of whom have received their Covid-19 swabs here in the Health Centre (thanks to our awesome nursing team, who’ve saved a number of families a trip to the hospital).
If your child is unwell at school, you will be rung for permission to be given before the test is administered. Your child will then need to be isolated at home until the results return.
The COVID-19 Rumour Mill
Our students are pretty magnificent in their capacity to spread a rumour, so I ask you to wait for any official communication from the College before taking their version of any illness here at school to heart.
With boarders on site, there are additional precautions that we need to take when one of them comes down with a cough, a tickle in their throat or a runny nose. From time to time, we’ll need to isolate the person who is sick and their boarding ‘close contacts’ here at school while we put our protocols in place (and there’ll be adults walking around with significant PPE on while this occurs!). This should be understood as nothing more than us doing on a larger scale, what you yourself would do at home if one of your children indicates that they’re not feeling great… it just takes us a little longer to get all the questions asked, permissions in place and students picked up. You will be informed if there is something to be aware of (and at all times, we’ll be striving to protect everyone’s privacy).
As we’re all starting to get our calendars ready for Term 3, here are a few updates regarding some of the major events yet to occur:
I recently completed the online Cybersafety Webinar presented by the Australian eSafety Commission and would like to recommend their various parent-learning webinars to you. In particular, their new safety webinar on teens and online gambling looks particularly pertinent, as do their resources on access to inappropriate content (such as abhorrent violent material and pornography).
Australian data indicates that 57% of adolescents have seen ‘real’ violence online, 50% of 8 to 17-year-old students have viewed pornography and 10% of 15 to 17-year-old students have accessed online gambling.
There are lots of tools to help parents intervene and support their child to make positive decisions about their online behaviour. The safety session I sat in (which was directed at educators, but there were also plenty of parents in the webinar) was excellent, and also informed us that during our remote learning period, calls to Kids Helpline had a 40% increase (taking a call every 60 seconds) but that interestingly, serious cyberbullying decreased by 12% (and is yet to return to pre-lockdown levels!).
During the past few months,Marist Schools Australia has been providing beautiful prayers and reflections to its member schools and staff. There was one that came through today that included a lovely prayer from Dom (Archbishop) Helder Camara of Brazil.
He was renowned as a generous and inspirational ‘streetwise priest’ who was especially influential on behalf of the desperately poor in the favelas (slums) of his own countries and indeed,those around the world.
Some may be aware that Dom Helder Camara visited Assumption College in 1985 as part of the Marist Youth Festival.He is remembered by those who had the privilege of spending time with him as a man of glorious humility and joy. The Herald Sun reported “A stooped and tiny man, barely 1.5 metres high, but somehow a giant in stature. A wizened and ancient betel-nut-brown face from which gentle eyes shone a special kind of light….unashamed tears of hope and joy slid down the many wrinkles of Dom Helder Camara’s cheeks.”