Preparations for Term Two

24 April 2020

This article first appeared in Queenwood News Weekly 24 April 2020

I hope you have been able to slow down and draw breath during the Easter Break. Things continue to develop quickly in relation to COVID-19, so this message sets out plans for the beginning of term and our approach to planning for the next stage.

I am sure you are as heartened as I am to see that the measures implemented by the government and followed by our community have resulted in such a steep decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases. These measures have been even more successful than hoped so, as you are no doubt aware, the government is now advising that schools should plan for a partial return of students to campus from Week 3 of Term 2, ie 11 May 2020.

Partial Return of Students to Campus

In accordance with this advice, we will continue with online learning for the first two weeks of term.

I have met this week with various authorities and agencies, including the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and had some detailed planning discussions with the Executive staff. The logistics are challenging and before finalising arrangements we wish to consult with both parents and staff. I stress that we have made no decisions as yet, but our discussions so far are shaped by the following principles:

  • Year 12 students should have priority in re-establishing face-to-face teaching and, given their age and independence, can also be given most flexibility in finding a pattern of study that works for them and their teachers. The same applies, to a slightly lesser degree, to Year 11 students.
  • Kindergarten students should also have priority because they are least capable of working independently. The same applies, to a lesser degree, to all of our younger students.
  • All students should have some access each week to learning on campus.
  • Following strong feedback from parents last term that the girls were particularly feeling the lack of social connection, we should make wellbeing and rebuilding peer connections a high priority for students in Kindergarten to Year 10 during their limited time on campus. This is especially the case for students in Year 7 who have had so little time to connect with each other this year.

There are complicating issues: some parents have indicated that their daughters will not attend school even once it is allowed, whilst others are pushing for their daughters to attend prior to 11 May 2020. In addition, just as we put our students’ health and safety first, we must also protect our staff, some of whom will not be able to be present on campus for some time. For this reason, we would like your feedback on the principles outlined above and some indication of your intentions with regard to attendance. This will greatly assist us in our planning for curriculum, wellbeing and practical considerations such as buses, so I ask that you complete our Weeks 1 - 4 planning survey by Monday, 27 April 2020.

We will review feedback from parents and staff and then inform parents by the end of next week of the proposed pattern of attendance in Weeks 3 and 4. We will not as yet be deciding the pattern of attendance for Week 5 and beyond because that is nearly a month away and we know that circumstances can change dramatically in that time. We will naturally continue to consult and communicate with you as plans develop for school beyond Week 4.

Preparing for Term 2

In the meantime, we have reviewed responses to our online learning survey at the end of Term 1. We were heartened by the many positive comments and the constructive criticism has been helpful. Teachers have considered this carefully as they planned in detail for online learning in Term 2. Key points:

Senior School

All girls in Years 7 – 10 should receive Online Learning Guidelines for Senior School Students in the mail before Term 2 commences. Years 11 & 12 will continue the pattern of online curriculum delivery established last term. They should consult CANVAS for subject-specific instruction.

Junior School Timetable

Girls will have lessons in English and Mathematics each day in one of three modes of delivery: live conferences so your daughter can interact with her teacher; pre-recorded videos so your daughter can complete activities at times that suit your family; and paper worksheets so your daughter can work independently. There will be an emphasis on live conferences using Big Blue Button in CANVAS and Microsoft Teams. Once your daughter has completed the essential lessons each morning she may then choose when to undertake recommended learning activities. For example, she may choose to do the Art task on Monday and Sport on Thursday. We hope that this will provide greater flexibility for parents working from home or for families negotiating the needs of multiple children.

Junior School Resources

We have improved the CANVAS student interface, adding a timetable button to each year group.  You can access documents and links or sign into live lessons directly from the timetable. Junior School teachers have prepared resource packs that you can drive though and collect from the carpark on Wednesday 29 April 2020. There will be Online Learning Guidelines for Junior School Students in that pack. Girls whose surnames start with the letters A – L can collect their resource packs from 2:00 - 3:00pm and those with surnames from M-Z can collect theirs from 3:00 - 4:00pm. Please make sure your daughter’s surname and year are clearly displayed on the car visor to assist with a smooth and safe collection.

IT Help

Girls requiring assistance with technology should submit a request to Student Tech Help who will assist as soon as practicable given the large number of girls using devices and the size of the IT team. If they aren’t able to login, they should call Senior Switch on 02 8968 7777. Girls requiring assistance with classwork should contact their teacher directly.

Student Wellbeing

The wellbeing of our girls is more critical than ever. Teachers and Tutors miss the girls! They are keen to hear from them and are excited at the prospect of having them back at school in some form soon.

Senior School girls will have regular opportunities to speak to their Tutors in roll call each morning and during the weekly Wellbeing lesson. It is crucial that your daughter uses these times to express how she is coping with online schooling so that her Tutor can provide any support she may need. Years 7-10 will be receiving a set of challenges to promote a positive and active mindset while working at home. Years 11 and 12 will be receiving more individualised guidance from their Tutors.

Junior School girls will continue to have daily Wellbeing Sessions as part of their online learning program and we encourage parents to let us know if your daughter needs some individual support from her class teacher.

If you feel your daughter would benefit from psychological support to deal with the significant impact of COVID-19, please contact our School Counsellor via email She will be available on 0413 077 710 8:00am - 4:00pm daily.

Parent Wellbeing

There are still some places open on the Mindfulness & Resilience course being offered to parents through the QPA’s generosity. I strongly commend this course to anyone who wishes that they could have greater focus, calm or productivity at work or at home. These are things most of us are keen to develop at the best of times, let alone in the strange times of 2020.

Webinars for Parents

As advertised last term, there will be a series of webinars for parents in the first two weeks of term. This will include brief presentations from key staff about our approach to curriculum and wellbeing through online learning and there will also be the opportunity for Q&A. We welcome any questions you may wish to send through ahead of time so we can ensure that the sessions are tailored to your points of interest:

Final Checklist:

  1. All parents please complete our Weeks 1 - 4 planning survey by Monday, 27 April 2020.
  2. Parents interested in the Mindfulness & Resilience Course can book here.
  3. Send any questions about the coming term to to be included in our parent webinars.

As always, I thank you all for your support of the School – and of course your daughters – at this unpredictable moment. Planning for the return of the girls may be complex but it is a labour of love. We want nothing more than to have them back with us as soon as we can!