Message from the Principal – COVID-19

Dear St Catherine’s Family Members,

With consideration to the rapidly changing advice with regard to Covid-19, the School Council, together with the Senior Leadership Team, have agreed to close the School campus for students as of 3.30pm Friday, 20 March 2020 until the commencement of Term 2.

The School has deeply considered a variety of perspectives prior to this announcement. I am respectful of the comments from the Prime Minister and government agencies on hesitancy surrounding school closure for fear of exacerbating the spread, the consequences of removing structured programs and adverse impacts on our workforce through worker withdrawal due to parental care responsibilities.

Senior School
In our Senior School, we will proceed from Monday 23 March, with the online learning that has commenced with the Learn@Home Trial Days this week. Given the level of positive feedback received from the Year 9 students on Monday following their Learn@Home Trial Day, the School has enabled a strong preparedness to deliver using this mode of instruction.

In the absence of further government directive this week for all schools, we would ideally prefer the VCE Unit 3&4 students to remain in attendance for classes and scheduled SACs next week. Further information will be provided with regard to this specific decision for Year 11 and 12 students in the latter part of this week.

Boarding House
Further communication will be circulated to our Boarding Families this afternoon.

Junior School
In our Junior School, we will proceed from Monday 23 March for our Years 4-6 students with in-home learning with their curriculum material available through the School Portal; this will include a combination of pre-filmed learning segments and activities. Our younger Prep-Year 3 girls will be able to take home their iPads, previously loaded with their learning Apps, and Learning Packs available for collection at the Barbreck Reception from Wednesday of this week.

In the absence of further government directive this week for all schools, the School wishes to assist families with a level of supervision of our younger Barbreck girls next week. This offer of supervision recognises that some families may not be able to care for their children at home in advance of the scheduled holidays and we remain mindful that the Prime Minister specifically articulated a need to keep essential health services functioning. Parents requiring assistance next week with supervision of younger children are requested to contact Mrs Karen McArdle via Barbreck Reception.

Our ELC families are encouraged to keep their children at home where they are able to do so.  A learning pack and additional library books will be provided to ELC children for ‘in-home’ learning. In the absence of further government directive this week for all schools, essential care and a modified program will be offered at the ELC to families who are unable to care for their children at home next week.  Please contact Ms Sarah Bethune, Head of ELC, should you require this service.  Learning packs and library books will be available for collection from Wednesday of this week.

Undoubtedly, over recent weeks, our teachers have committed their energies wholeheartedly to adapting their pedagogy to the online forum and developing Learning Packs in readiness for this change of delivery and I note my gratitude and appreciation for their efforts to ensure our students’ learning continues.

At School this week, our internal co-curricular programs including Music, Performing Arts, Sport and Clubs continue to operate.  Whilst many events have been cancelled, we feel that the girls’ continued participation in rehearsals and training is of considerable value and we encourage their continued learning through their participation. Further information with regard to individual Music lessons will be forthcoming.

I would like to thank you very much for your ongoing support during these unprecedented events. I understand this a challenging time for all, and I encourage your patience and care for all members of our community.

Mrs Michelle Carroll


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