Coronavirus Updates

The school is taking precautionary steps to respond to the  COVID-19 pandemic.  This page will be kept up to date with the latest information from the school.

 


 

Useful links for the School Community

Where can I find the latest health information on COVID-19?

The Department of Health has posted several publications here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

The World Health Organisation’s advice for the public can be found here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for- public

The Australian Government has a dedicated COVID-19 Health Information Line, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1800 020 080

Where can I find advice on supporting my child through this event?

For parents and carers:

 

For young people:

During these difficult times, maintaining positive wellbeing may be challenging. Relying on news from mainstream media or social media which may be sensational or exaggerate issues can further increase stress and anxiety. It is important to seek information from trusted sources. Below are some resources available to support all children and young people with their wellbeing.

The World Health Organisation has developed a handout on helping children cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Head to Health
It’s natural to feel stressed, worried, anxious, bored or depressed as the Covid-19 pandemic impacts our mental health and wellbeing. This page covers facts about the outbreak as well as tips for maintaining good mental health and how to access mental health services. Psychological tips for coping can help you with managing anxiety and worry about Covid-19.

Reach Out
Self-care can help you feel a little better and can give you a sense of control in a very uncertain time. Here is a list of self-care activities that you can do from home.

Beyond Blue
When children and young people are able to self-manage their emotions their emotions, they feel more confident, capable and in control. Helping children and young people manage their emotions is important for fostering positive mental health and wellbeing.

Student Wellbeing Hub
The Student Wellbeing Hub is  a place for educators, parents and students to build safe, inclusive and connected communities that promote wellbeing and learning. 

Kids Helpline
KHL provides free, confidential support and counselling for children aged 5-25.

Headspace
Headspace provides mental health services for aged 12-25 including information and resources, as well as online and telephone services. This factsheet is to support young people with Covid-19 related stress.

For younger students:

Click here to go to information on the School's Remote Learning Program


 

COVID 19 - Statement on the HSC from NESA

25 March 2020

I write to provide you with information concerning the 2020 NSW Higher School Certificate published yesterday by NESA. The press release is very reassuring and affirms their commitment to ensuring that the 2020 HSC will go ahead and Year 12 students will get a HSC certificate this year.

There will be more information to follow and we will be monitoring developments closely.

The key message for our students is that it is important for them to stay focussed on their studies and continue with their learning as we all adapt and find our way through these unprecedented times.

Statement from NESA - 24 March 2020

At its meeting yesterday afternoon, the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Board confirmed that the Higher School Certificate (HSC) is going ahead in 2020, along with a commitment to providing clear and regular advice to the community about the HSC as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

To this end, the NESA Board established a COVID-19 Response Committee to address developing issues as a matter of urgency.

Following the meeting, Chair of the NESA Board Professor Peter Shergold said he had three important messages for HSC students:

  • We know you are worried. While we recognise we are facing an unprecedented situation, we want to assure you that you will be able to get a HSC certificate this year, and that the certificate will facilitate access to university, further education and employment, as it has for students over the past 50 years.
  • Keep learning, do your assessments as advised by your school, make progress on your major projects where you can and, most importantly, look after yourself, whether you are at school or at home. Reach out to family, friends and your teachers if you need to.
  • If you get sick, your school and NESA have provisions to ensure you are not disadvantaged.

Effective immediately the Board is giving school principals or system authorities the power to make decisions about the number and weighting of HSC formal assessment tasks for their school in 2020. The Board affirms its complete trust in principals and teachers.

“This action provides schools with the flexibility they need to support their students in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Professor Shergold said.

NESA will provide specific advice to principals about this delegation of authority later this week.

The NESA COVID-19 Response Committee is aware of and will urgently provide advice on the following issues:

  • work placements for VET students
  • students working on a group drama, dance or music performance
  • students completing projects and major works.

Professor Shergold said the situation faced by schools was unprecedented and that in this situation the Board recognises above all else that the health, safety and welfare of students and teachers is paramount.

“The Board discussed at length issues of disadvantage, dislocation and social isolation.

“Decisions and advice will be based on the principles of fairness and equity that have always underpinned the internationally recognised HSC credential,” Professor Shergold said.

The COVID-19 Response Committee includes representation from each of the three school sectors who are committed to working together. It will meet at least weekly, but more frequently if needed, to address issues as they arise and provide clear communication to schools and principals.

These are indeed challenging times. I thank you for your support as we work together to best support our students. It is important that they focus on what they can control and try to find positives in the situation that we all find ourselves in. Please encourage them to stay socially connected with their friends via digital platforms for personal and learning support.

We will keep you updated as more information regarding the HSC comes to hand.

Keep well.

With very best wishes,

Dr Andrew Parry
Principal – Kinross Wolaroi School


 

COVID19 Update - Boarding Schools & NAPLAN

20 March 2020

I am immensely grateful to our community for your willingness to support the School as we navigate through these very uncertain times. I have also been greatly encouraged by the powerful endorsement of so many of our Medical Practitioners.

These unprecedented circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic are causing major disruption and anxiety around the world. Even here in the Central West we are witnessing irrational behaviour in our supermarkets.

Our proactive move to shift to remote learning is precautionary and has been undertaken because Kinross Wolaroi School is in a unique position compared to the great majority of schools, housing over 300 boarders from all over NSW on an integrated K-12 site. Current Government advice regarding school operations is quite different for boarding schools particularly ones such as ours. This has a been clearly articulated by the State’s Chief Medical Officer and yesterday by the Prime Minister when he noted the ‘high risk of transmission’ in boarding schools and that boarding schools should assess their own context. This is precisely what we have done in order to protect the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and broader regional community. We will continue to carefully monitor the evolving situation as we carefully consider our next steps.

Please see below an official statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee issued on 18 March following the Australian Government’s announcement.

“Boarding schools are at high risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to close and shared living arrangements and higher frequency of face-to-face contact. An outbreak in a boarding school would present a difficult management issue including potentially the isolation of the entire boarding school as all students and staff would be defined as close contacts following a confirmed case. Depending on the structure the boarding school may be unsuitable for isolation procedures.

Should a boarding student from a rural or remote community be diagnosed with COVID-19, they may not be able to return home if there is not sufficient health infrastructure to support them, or support their isolation.”

To continue to deliver teaching and learning it has been necessary for our full school population to transfer to remote learning. With our boarders making up 40 percent of our Senior School students, it would be untenable and unfair to expect our teachers to simultaneously teach half of their students face-to-face and half remotely.

In addition the wellbeing of our students, staff and community must be our first priority. While there is some indication that children experience a milder illness than adults, we must also care for our staff’s wellbeing. Regional areas such as ours have more limited medical resources than larger centres.

Our role at Kinross Wolaroi is to make decisions that are in the best interests of our students, staff and community. As parents, you have elected to educate your children in an independent school, in part based on those principles. We believe our action to transfer to remote learning at this point in time is in the best interests of our community.

We are acutely aware of the disruption experienced by our students this year. There are many experiences and opportunities that have been cancelled or remain under review, such as our student exchanges, tours and trips, sporting and music activities, and local competitions just to name a few.

This disruption will be of great concern to our senior students whose academic programs have been affected. This will be experienced by all students in NSW and NESA, the National Education Standards Authority will advise us how assessments will be modified in the near future.

Understandably, our students will be anxious about school assessments, HSC exams and ATAR rankings. A student’s ATAR ranking is determined by their performance in school assessments and their HSC exams. Their school assessments are moderated to the HSC exams and it is their performance relative to their own KWS cohort that is important. As the entire KWS cohort is in the same position the impact on school assessments will be minimal. In terms of the HSC exams, all students in NSW will be impacted and we will be following NESA guidelines and closely monitoring the developing situation. Rest assured Year 12 students will be provided with a full academic program through our Remote Learning platform that will be comprehensive in terms of content and feedback as well as providing academic support through this challenging time.

In a further testament to the disruption in schooling we are experiencing, Education Ministers met today and decided that NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020.

All our students have many challenges to manage but rest assured our staff will continue to support them as they learn new skills and become agile and independent learners.

We all know about challenge and adversity and recent years have seen many of us face the ravages of drought, bushfire and flood. Fortunately, experience teaches us that in time these obstacles pass and new opportunities appear.

I believe it to be important we give our students a sense of hope about the future. Research has shown hope is critical to so many other positive outcomes, including academic achievement. Our Mentors and Heads of House, together with our staff will continue to provide support and encouragement to our students over the weeks ahead.

We have a tremendous staff here at KWS. I am immensely proud of the way they have pulled together to ensure they are well prepared for remote learning.

I have sat in with a number of our faculties over the past two days and it was fabulous to witness their enthusiasm and positivity as they learnt new skills and explored new opportunities to assist our students with remote learning. It has also been wonderful to see our younger ‘tech savvy’ members of staff sharing their knowledge and skills with

others. This challenge has drawn Faculties together and seen collaboration, support and teamwork thrive. Our staff are genuinely excited by how this challenge may enhance their teaching in the future.

This disruption to our usual teaching and learning presents exciting challenges for us all to grow and learn new skills. A key focus of contemporary education and indeed of our Strategic Plan for Best Practice learning is to develop independent and agile learners. Both of these qualities are highly important skills for employers and are essential for our students as they experience a rapidly changing world and work environment.

The modern world demands that our students have the capacity to keep learning so that we can adapt to change and for some working from home will be a reality. This disruption provides an outstanding opportunity for us all to develop these skills.

As educators we thrive on the energy and personal engagement that schools provide when our students are undertaking their usual classes and co-curricular activities. We are all going to miss our face to face interactions over the coming weeks and it is going to be important we maintain connection with friends and colleagues via our digital platforms. These challenging times will pass and we will emerge stronger and better equipped for the future.

Our Leadership team and School Council are in total alignment that this is the best decision for Kinross Wolaroi at this point in time. We very much look forward to returning to the joy of a vibrant campus as soon as is safe and practical.

Wishing you all the best.
Take care,

Dr Andrew Parry
Principal – Kinross Wolaroi School


 

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