Dear staff, parents and families, and all in our Catholic education community,
Welcome back to Term Two – it’s hard to believe that school has only been back for one full week.
I would like to thank CEWA school and office staff across the State for your outstanding work in recent weeks. It was inspiring to hear about the your tireless efforts in Term One to support students to engage in their learning from home and then to prepare for flexible and remote teaching and learning in Term Two. With circumstances sometimes changing daily as we faced new frontiers in education, the agility and adaptability of all staff across our system has been remarkable.
As we now know, Western Australia has thankfully done very well in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have been hearing from teachers, principals and school staff across our system how glad they are to have students back at school.
While Catholic school staff have done their very best to enable the return to learning for our students in Term Two, both at school and at home, it has certainly been a true team effort, with our schools relying on strong relationships with parents.
I thank the parents and caregivers in our school communities for the support they have given to school staff, and acknowledge the work of parents while children have been learning from home. From school families coordinating a school drive-by with balloons to celebrate a teacher’s birthday, to letters and messages of thanks and encouragement, to the willingness to adapt quickly to a new model of schooling, Catholic school parents and students have lived the values that make our schools uniquely Catholic. The generosity of spirit, acts of compassion and service, joy-filled videos and the commitment to excellence in learning regardless of the circumstances are just some examples of how our students and families are actively living our Gospel values. We have seen staff and students connecting with others online to check in while isolation has been necessary, and reaching out to members of the community through care packs, socially distanced concerts, and other creative means.
At the start of next week, Catholic education will be seeking the latest health advice from Health and Government agencies and reviewing the readiness of schools to return to having all students back at school – except of course those students whose parents/caregivers choose to or need to continue learning from home. Our priorities in all decision-making will be the health and wellbeing of students and staff, and our schools will continue to implement best practice in cleaning, distancing and hygiene measures appropriate to the changing situation.
Again, I would like to acknowledge the hard work, the adaptability, and the care for others demonstrated in our schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic , and I look forward to all of our students and staff being physically back at school learning and growing in faith together very soon.
Lastly, as a faith-based community, we always retain our outward focus, and our care and concern for our brothers and sisters around the world. Let us continue to look for ways to help those in need in Australia and abroad, and pray for those who continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways few of us here in WA have experienced.
All the best for Term Two from myself and the CEWA Executive Team,
Dr Debra Sayce
Catholic Education Western Australia