Over the last few weeks the expectation on COVID-19 management for schools has changed significantly. It’s important that we keep all parents and carers in our community up to date with these changes.
As schools begin to open back up to their communities there are specific rules that all schools are mandated to follow. Could I please remind all families that as a school we don’t make the rules and create the mandates, however we are expected to follow what has been put in place by the State Government and the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
Our employer, Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited (DOSCEL), as the operator of all Catholic primary and secondary schools within the Diocese of Sale, is required to comply with the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions as issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO).
Compliance with the Directions requires DOSCEL to take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff, contractors, volunteers or parents attending the school site for extended periods who are unvaccinated, who do not have a valid exception or who choose to not disclose their vaccination status, cannot attend the workplace.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS VISITOR OR VOLUNTEERS PERFORMING WORK IN SCHOOLS
Any visitor or volunteer performing work in schools (including parent helpers and other operators such as school photographers) must have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 29 November 2021 or have a valid medical exception to attend on-site. This is a requirement in accordance with the Directions that are in place.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS OF PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CARERS AND OTHER VISITORS ATTENDING SCHOOLS
Parents, guardians and carers who enter school buildings must be fully vaccinated or have a valid medical exception with the following limited exceptions:
- when attending to administer medical treatment to their own child when the treatment cannot be administered by the school
- when attending to collect their child who is unwell and cannot leave the school building unaccompanied by their parent/carer
- when attending for a momentary period that does not involve any sustained contact with staff or students, for example, to collect a completed art project or similar.
All adults, including parents, guardians and carers attending any school event or activity including, but not limited to assemblies, tours, graduations, transition days or whole of school events are required to be fully vaccinated and show evidence of vaccination.
Meetings and other discussions (such as Student Support Group meetings) with parents, guardians and carers who do not meet vaccination requirements should be held virtually.
Parents, guardians and carers attending school sites for drop off and pick up who do not enter school buildings do not need to comply with vaccination requirements.
It should be noted that the vaccination requirements are in line with the requirements set by the Department of Education and Training and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria due to the high number of positive COVID-19 cases in schools at this time.
The position taken is in consideration of the safety and well-being of students and members of the community who are unable to be vaccinated. We apologise for any inconvenience or distress these requirements might hold.
It is often assumed that humans turn to panic in our darkest, toughest moments or in states of emergency, but the research consistently shows that during tough or challenging times, people tend to act in solidarity and turn toward each other with a sense of togetherness. We will volunteer, donate supplies, give money, and spread goodwill, strengthening social bonds and helping everyone be resilient together.
Compassion (noticing another person’s suffering and being motivated to provide relief to them) grows early on in life. Five-month-old babies prefer helpers over hinderers. When babies between eight and ten months old see people bump their knees or hurt their fingers, they already show the seeds of empathy with facial expressions, vocalisations, and gestures that reflect concern and a desire to understand others’ distress. By 14 months old, toddlers help others by handing them objects out of reach.
How can parents help their children realise their instinctual capacity for compassion during the coronavirus pandemic? Scientists have suggested three ways that children develop compassion that are relevant to these times.
1. SHOW COMPASSION TO KIDS SO THEY EXPERIENCE RECEIVING IT
During the pandemic, many of our children are feeling uncertainty and upheaval, just like us parents. They miss school, their friends, and playing sports like they did before. For young children who don’t have the breadth of words to express their worries and fears, or older children who don’t have the emotional agility to get through tough moments, it can be overwhelming.
As a result, our kids may be irritable or have more meltdowns and tantrums than usual. But rather than seeing children as uncooperative, parents can consider whether their behaviour is simply an indication that they might be suffering, too.
If we offer children warmth and tenderness when their routines are turned upside down, we can soothe them in their own time of need. Parents can extend compassion by making space to help their children become better aware of and process their feelings. Acknowledging and being sensitive to our children’s emotions can act as a salve and help them to see that this moment of hardship will eventually pass.
Parents can also frequently talk to their children about all the members of their extended family and broader community who have cared for them both recently and in the past. For example, parents can tell and retell their children stories of neighbours who brought gift baskets after their pet died or dropped off dinners when a grandparent was in the hospital. These conversations serve to remind children that they are connected to a network of people who are a generous source of compassion from which they can draw strength during times of suffering. Receiving compassion offers kids a firsthand experience of what it feels like.
2. TEACH KIDS TO PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION
In turn, just as children receive compassion from parents, they can also learn to offer it to themselves.
When children are having a hard time during the pandemic, parents can encourage them to listen and respond to their bodies and minds with greater awareness, acceptance, and kindness. For example, parents of older children can teach them to take self-compassion breaks to handle stressful moments.
For younger children, this might mean guiding them to first pause and notice their tense muscles, rapid heartbeats, and racing thoughts. Ask them to recognise that they’re having a moment of hardship and children all over the world are having these kinds of moments, too. Teach them to breathe deeply from their bellies and offer themselves words of tenderness and support.
Parents can also encourage their younger children to cultivate self-compassion by planning enjoyable activities to look forward to after a hard day of home schooling or after realising various plans and events have been cancelled.
Self-compassion allows children to process and cope with difficult emotions. Eventually, it can help them see their common humanity—that everyone suffers sometimes—and know that it’s all right to feel bad.
Tending to their intense emotions helps children be restored and renewed, which in turn prepares them to serve others. Overwhelming personal distress can make children singularly self-focused and less able to attend to others’ suffering. Self-compassion practices can help them be more able to orient toward others and extend compassion to them—which is the last step.
3. ENCOURAGE KIDS TO EXTEND COMPASSION TO OTHERS
During the coronavirus pandemic, even though children are inclined to help, it can be hard for them to know exactly what they can do.
Children can start with small acts of compassion as a family—sending kind thoughts to essential workers, regularly Face Timing with isolated older or immune compromised family members, or helping gather canned goods for the local food banks. Parents can have a family meeting to help inspire children toward compassionate acts for others.
Research suggests that small differences in language matter when we’re encouraging our kids to help. Parents can nurture young children’s motivation by inviting them to “be a helper,” which can instil in them a compassionate self-identity. But there’s a catch: When tasks are too difficult and children experience a setback, those who were asked to “be a helper” are less likely to try to help again compared to children who were simply asked “to help.” So, in circumstances when children might not succeed at helping with something, it’s better to just ask them “to help.”
Even young children have undoubtedly picked up on their radar that life right now is quite a bit different than it used to be. What if this pandemic became an opportunity for them to learn that being human during hard times involves transformation and resilience, and that compassion helps us all to thrive?
2021 CLASS STRUCTURES
We have finalised our class structures for 2021 school year and they will be as follows:
3 x Foundation
3 x Grade 1’s
3 X Grade 2’s
5 x Grade3/4’s
4 x Grade 5/6’s
It is important that there is a collective understanding by both parents and children that being in the same class with their ‘best friends’ or social acquaintances outside of school is never a given.
Teachers will use their professional judgment on what they see each day within the cohort and more importantly the positive or negative impacts that friendships can have on an individual student learning.
PARENT CLASS REQUESTS FOR 2022 CLOSE THIS FRIDAY
Parents are asked to place any class requests specific to the needs of their child/ren based on the following understandings and guidelines:
- All requests for consideration must be directed in email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday 19th November. (requests received after this date will not be implemented)
- The request must be based on individual student needs and not for preferred teachers, friendships groups or social relationships that occur outside of school
- We do not offer any guarantees with parent requests. Factors for consideration will help to inform our process of grouping students – the request via a parent does not guarantee student placement
- Requests from parents will be only considered for the upcoming school year.
- I will meet with and inform all relevant staff of parent input prior to formation of classes
We appreciate the parent input and will do our best to make things work for your child, so long as the request is deemed fair and in line with the guidelines above.
Once groupings have been decided and announced to the school community in mid-December, there will be no changes made to classes as it creates a domino effect across the level.
RAINBOWS FOR ROSE
DRESS IN THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW
Thanks to everyone in our school community who supported “Rainbows for Rose”, and helped celebrate this beautiful little life.
The money raised will go towards the purchase of a special friendship bench/seat that will be located under the big oak tree which is a very special gathering spot for our children.
Thanks to Mrs Lewry for putting together this year’s Remembrance Day service with the schools Liturgy team. The children presented a really respectful service. A big thank you to Levi Camilleri for his instrumental offerings on guitar, and to the Grade 1 students for their artistic Poppy Flowers.
WHOLE SCHOOL ASSEMBLY
It was great to have our first whole school assembly last Friday, and a big congratulations to our Foundation students who did an amazing job coming in settled and aware of the routines.
SCHOOL START TIMES
We are seeing an increasing number of students arriving to school after the 'Walkers Gate' has been closed each morning. In an effort to reduce the number of visitors and students moving through the Admin building, we would like to remind all families of our expectations for student drop off each morning;
8.30am 'Walkers Gate' is opened
8.50am All students should be dropped off and through the gate
9am School Commences
ST ITA’S JUNIOR SCHOOL ATHLETICS DAY
On Friday 26th of November the Foundation, and Grade 1 & 2 students will get the chance to showcase their Athletics skills they have been learning in PE with Mrs Kittelty during Term 4.
The main theme for the Athletics Day is participation and sportsmanship, so all students are encouraged to dress up in their house colours, and 'have a go' at all of the events! The event will take place onsite from 9:30am and our 2021 Grade 6 student leaders will assist the junior students with each event.
Please note this is a SunSmart event so a hat, sunscreen and drink bottle are a must!
GRADE 6 GRADUATION / BIG DAY OUT
We are currently looking into the options that are available for our Grade 6 Graduation and our Grade 6 Big Day Out celebrations.
The challenge we face with Graduation, is that all venues currently have density limits, which limits the options availabe to us. In the event that we can source a venue, it will most likely be a children and staff event, and parents may be required do drop off and pick up.
Either way we’ll do our best to get families back into our school in some capacity over the last weeks of term to see our Grade 6 students graduate.
GRADE 6 GRADUATION MASS & DINNER
YEAR 7 TRANSITION DATES
The below dates have been scheduled for Grade 6 students who are transitioning into Secondary School in 2022;
Drouin Secondary College
Transition Day 1 - Tuesday 7th December
Transition Day 2 - Friday 10th December
Orientation Day - Tuesday 30th November
FAMILIES LEAVING THE ST ITA'S COMMUNITY IN 2022
If there are any families that know they will be moving on from St Ita’s in the 2022 school year, it is important that we are informed of your intentions so places can be offered to those families who are currently on waiting lists. Please contact our School Admin if you are moving on 03 5623 7222 or email@example.com
CHRISTMAS IN A SHOE BOX - 2 WEEKS LEFT
The St Ita's & St Vinnies Drouin “Christmas in a Shoe Box” gift exchange, in conjunction with Toyworld Warragul closes on Friday 3rd December.
Please visit Toyworld Warragul in the next week, advise you are from St Ita's and are choosing a gift or are donating money to our wonderful local St Vinnies for those in need this Christmas.
It is preferred where possible for you and your children to select the gift, to give children the important lesson of the joy of giving to others. Please leave your gift with Toyworld Warragul as they are storing and delivering to St Vinnies to assist in keeping everyone COVID safe.
Thank you for your continued support.
COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT - SCHOOL FEE CONCESSIONS
2022 ENROLMENTS NOW OPEN
We strongly advise families to return application forms for their 2022 Foundation students to guarantee enrolment for next year, our places are filling quickly.
If you require an interview and school tour with your child, please contact our school Admin on (03) 5623 7222 as soon as possible to book a time (COVID-19 Dependent).
All parents will be required to complete a student questionnaire prior to the commencement of your interview (this takes a couple of minutes and you will receive it on arrival). You will also receive an enrolment pack with an enrolment form enclosed.
SCHOOL FEES & FEE CONCESSION
School Fees for 2021 are due and payable by December 2021.
BPay details are available on your school fee statement. All school fees are now due and payable and all accounts must be finalised by the end of the school year they are due, December 2021.
Direct Debits can be implemented at any time, if any families would like to pay their fees by instalment weekly, fortnightly or monthly, please complete the below Direct Debit Form and returning to the school office at your earliest convenience. Please calculate the total fees payable by the number of weeks/payments required for your fees to be paid by December 2021. For any assistance please contact the school Admin office via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
For any families that have recently received a Government means-tested Health Care Concession Card and have not already advised the school office, please forward a copy of your card to the office to check your eligibility, as a fee concession may apply. The card must be in the name of the parent/fee payer for a fee concession to apply with the student details listed on the card. A CSEF (Camp, Sport & Excursion Fund) form must also be completed. Application forms must be completed each year.
If your current Health Care Concession Card has expired, or is due to expire and your card is re-issued or any details have changed, please send a copy of your new card details to the office as soon as possible for the concession to be checked and applied to your fees.
STUDENT OF THE MONTH
Congratulations to Marley Nooy, Angus Brunt, Rex Lockett and Amber Hammond who are the recipients of our Student of the Month.
All our winners were selected for being great role models of the 5 pillars within our Whole School Approach to Positive Behaviours.
The 5 pillars that we promote across our school are;
Compassion, Respect, Inclusiveness, Resilience and Teamwork.
A LOT BIGGER KING
Pope Paul VI retitled this feast “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.” (John 1`8:33-37) We have learnt better than triumphantly proclaiming, as we once did, Christ the King as the emperor of the Catholic Church to the exclusion of all others. God is a lot bigger than that! We have developed “a consciousness (which) holds that church teachings are modified in the light of science, cultural shifts in consciousness and insights from historical studies.”(Treston K. 2016 p59). For example, Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory, organised a ground-breaking conference in 2017 at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome which reiterated what past pope’s and theologians have been impressing on all God’s people, that the myth of science and religion being incompatible must be finally ended, and that “there never was anything to fear for religious believers in the theory of evolution.”(O’Leary p18)
“Yes, I am a King” says Jesus, the Christ. “I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:35). Pursuing this universal truth in Christ at the centre of the cosmos, we emphasise, “our journey towards the consummation of history which fully corresponds to the plan of his love: “to unite all things in him, things in Heaven and things on earth.”(Gaudium et Spes, no.45). Because, as Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, “In light of the centrality of Christ, Gaudium et Spes [Vatican II document] interprets the condition of contemporary men and women, their vocation and their dignity, and also the milieus in which they live: the family, culture, the economy, politics, the international community. This is the Church’s mission, yesterday, today and for ever: to proclaim and witness to Christ so that the human being, every human being, may totally fulfil his or her vocation”. (Benedict XVI St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 20 November 2005 Solemnity of Christ the King).
Deacon Mark Kelly
IMPORTANT CONFIRMATION UPDATE 2021
If your child is in Grade 6 and is still wishing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, please note a letter has been sent out informing parents of our way forward. We have finally found dates to fit in with accommodating numbers. The arrangements are not ideal but under the circumstances of the Victorian Roadmap it is the best we can do. We sincerely thank all our Confirmation families for showing great patience and resilience in these tough times.
If you have not received a letter by email as yet please let Therese Meggetto know ASAP at the following email address: Warragul.email@example.com and one will be forward to you.
We ask everyone to keep these families in your prayers at this very special time.
Please note our Confirmation dates are as follows:
Reconciliation in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation:
St Ita’s Church, Drouin - Wednesday, November 24th 7:00pm
St Joseph’s Church, Warragul - Thursday, November 25th 7:00pm
Please bring your child’s Saint Project on the night you choose for Reconciliation.
Sacrament of Confirmation:
St Ita’s Church, Drouin - Friday, November 26th 7:00pm
St Joseph’s Church, Warragul - Saturday, November 27th 7:00pm
For further inquiries please contact Thérèse on M: 0499 116 428