The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

I would like to commence this newsletter by thanking everyone for the way you supported our return to school in a relatively seamless fashion since Monday 4 May. Our return was led by our very young Junior School students and their teachers who actually came back to school on Friday 1 May and showed us the way to commence normal schooling as soon as practicable. Well done.

It was clear that the Government would have to declare a full return to school as of this week. We have now been back for two weeks and are operating at about 96% attendance since our return. As of this week there are still a number of boarding students not at school as we have decided to complete some modifications to the Year 7/8 house to provide greater privacy between cubicles, as part our response to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommendations on boarding accommodation. As such the Year 7/8 boarding students, and by choice some Year 9 and 10 students, will not return to school until after the mid-term break.

Congratulations to our Year 12s for successfully completing their examinations. Even considering the time they were not on campus, our SCOT programme ensured they could continue to prepare for the exams. Well done to all of the boys and their teachers. We wish our Year 11 students the best of luck with their exams, which commenced last Friday. As with our Year 12s they are well prepared, and I am sure they will perform as expected.

Have Your Say — COVID-19 Survey

Much has happened over the past two months, and although we have resumed some sense of normality, we cannot assume the situation will remain as stable as it feels now.

Like any major initiatives we undertake at Scotch, we would like your feedback about the teaching and learning, and wellbeing support provided during the period that our campus was closed. We would appreciated if you could provide your feedback via the survey circulated to families on Friday 15 May, which covers our processes, communication, school structure and wellbeing support during the move to home learning resulting from COVID-19. The survey should take between 5–10 minutes, depending on the level of detail you would like to provide.

Please note that you are not being asked to compare face-to-face teaching with online teaching, as we had no option but to implement an online programme. Should we face another period of home learning, we want to ensure we are able to implement changes that enhance the experience for our students and their families in an online environment.

An Update on COVID-19

The next stage of returning to normality is the gradual return to co-curricular activities and sport. Like the wider community we look forward to bringing back activities in a planned, but safe, manner as we continue to observe current health guidelines. Events that were cancelled throughout the more restrictive COVID-19 period will not be reinstated. Our goal is to try and work through the balance of 2020, in the hope that future events can still take place.

In closing, it is very important to highlight that we are in the early stages of arising from the lockdown period. Caution, not complacency, is still an important element of working through this next phase. From observing community interaction on the weekend, it is amazing just how many appear to have forgotten some of the more basic requirements of social distancing, which are still in place. Our WA bubble, and the apparent success in dealing with the virus, is both a great thing and a challenge as we work through the coming months.

At this stage adults are still restricted from entering our campus unless they have been specifically engaged in our teaching and learning programmes, or they have approval to come on site for a non-educational reason. Our staff continue to maintain social distancing, as part of current requirements, and we continue to apply suitable health and hygiene principles. Now that the state is officially returning to school, it is important that parents speak to their children about the ongoing need for hygiene and social distancing principles, which must underpin our return to school.

Once again thanks for your support. This continues to help us return to our normal activities in a safe, planned and orderly manner.

Have a great fortnight,

Dr Alec J O'Connell