High Notes, Vol 21 No 12, May 01 2020

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From the Principal

Welcome Back to Term 2

I trust that all staff, students and parents are well and prepared for the commencement of Term 2. We have been living under social restrictions imposed on us all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we commence Term 2, we know that, as Churchill observed, “…this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”. Students will be returning to school during this term for face to face learning and socialising but will still be restricted in their activities and subject to hygiene and health regulations.

Staff Changes

Ms Taryn Evans (Mathematics) has accepted an offer of a position teaching mathematics at Caringbah High School commencing in term three at this stage. We thank her for her service in many areas of school life. Ms Melinda Jollie has accepted an offer of a permanent position at High, teaching English. We congratulate her on her appointment, replacing Ms Jenny Rohr.

Department of Education – Term 2 Plan

Department of Education Secretary, Mark Scott, outlined the Department’s Plan for Term Two in vodcasts on April 21 and 27. “… What should our steady state be? Education is a priority in our society. How do we drive engagement in Term 2? We all believe in the school experience. We want to get every student into school at least once a week in Term 2”. Initially, there will be reduced numbers at school. There is a phased plan for a graduated return to full operation. We start in phase 0 with online learning as at the end of term 2 for the first three weeks. Thereafter, in phase 1, each student will attend at least one day per week with four days following the online model. It is envisaged that Phase 2, ie two days per week, will commence at some stage in term 2, depending on health advice.

Strategies to assist schools. There will be a guarantee of purchasing casual teaching time to help with reduced class sizes. There will be enhanced school cleaning through 25% extra cleaning hours per school per day. Sanitiser and personal protective equipment will be provided to all schools, initially in a pack.

Sydney Boys High Plan for Term 2 – Phase Zero and Phase One

Given the evolving nature of Department of Health advice, and NSW Government responses to the health crisis we face together, it does not seem prudent to plan too far ahead. Faculties have already submitted their plans for an online mode for the month of May. These plans will be implemented in weeks 1C and 2A. Thereafter, they will need to be varied to accommodate a face-to-face cycle. We aim to achieve four objectives in the first cycle: keep the staff safe, preserve the timetable, prioritise and maximise engagement in face-to-face learning and maintain student safety. In subsequent cycles we will endeavour to assess all students, commencing with Year 12 and cascading down though the academic years. Our CANVAS Learning Management System has empowered staff to deliver lessons in synchronous and asynchronous modes and to test and assess online.

On 11 May, High is planning a one-cycle roster, commencing with Week 3 B, followed by Week 4 C and Week 5 A. Year 12 will attend school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays during the cycle.  Years 11, 10 & 9 are to share Tuesdays. Years 7,8 & 9 share Wednesdays. Thursdays will be shared among Years 7-11. Fridays will have Years 8, 11 and 10 sharing. There are 15 days per cycle with two years attending each day, amounting to 30 teaching days. Year 12 will have nine days face-to-face per cycle, Year 11 five days and each of the other year groups four days each. At a maximum, attendance will comprise between 32% and 34% of the school enrolment on any one day. As in Term 1, a space will be set aside and supervised for those students who need to come to school every day as from 29 April.

To comply with social distancing restrictions, we have measured and calculated the floor area of all our teaching spaces. We have identified seventeen learning spaces that can satisfy the 4M2 area per person for at least stage six classes. Of these, eight teaching spaces can accommodate 30 students. Thereafter, classes will need to be split between adjacent rooms with a casual teacher in one or both rooms, in the latter case if a teacher is high risk and not on site but delivering from home. Adequate casual relief teaching support has been guaranteed by DoE. At this stage, given our current advice, the table below depicts the planned roster beginning in week three.

Week and cycle Week 3B:
11/5 - 15/5
Week 4C:
18/5 - 22/5
Week 5A:
25/5 - 29/5
Monday 10 7 11
12 12 12
Tuesday 11 10 9
12 12 12
Wednesday 7 8 7
9 9 8
Thursday 8 9 7
10 11 11
Friday 8 11 10
12 12 12

Pedagogy in the First Cycle of the Roster

Coming back to school will not mean a return to the same state as before social restrictions were imposed. When face-to-face classes are scheduled there will be no parallel online lesson for absent students. Absentees will have access to CANVAS but not to synchronous learning. You will be expected to be at school. There will be some lessons where high-risk teachers have to remain at home and will continue to deliver online to students who are at school. Some classes may have to be split across two rooms with a casual teacher in one or both spaces. Some teachers will want to take advantage of the larger spaces and so there will be room changes for larger classes. Some teachers will take their classes in their normal rooms. This is a flexible, teacher-driven model. To maximise re-engagement, we all will need to be patient, cooperative, adaptable and resilient. The goal of maximising learning opportunities is a worthy one. Let’s achieve it together.

Keeping Staff and Students Safe

We have invested heavily in health and safety. Each staffroom and the libraries have a hand-held infrared thermometer to measure the temperatures of staff and students as required. Random temperature checks will be undertaken. Any febrile student or staff member will be asked to leave the premises. Up to1300 personal hand sanitiser bottles have been ordered for students and staff. PPE, alcohol wipes and other equipment is being rolled out by DoE. Bulk quantities of disinfectant for surfaces have been procured. Supplementary cleaning by school staff will be actioned as needed on top of the DoE enhanced cleaning plan. We have requested more frequent cleaning of the toilets.

We will be using tape or painted lines in public spaces, around entrance ways and on the ground at the entrance to the Great Hall / canteen and areas where transiting students may pass each other.

Capital Works During the Holidays

You will be pleased to know that the roofing beams for the Governors Centre were installed during the holidays and the project will soon ‘top out’, somewhat ahead of schedule. In giving effect to our plan of air conditioning the rooms in the school voted by the students as being most uncomfortable to work in in summer, rooms 401 and 404 had air conditioning installed at a cost of c$8.5k. As the next stage in our ICT upgrade of teaching spaces, science rooms had new interactive projectors installed, with new whiteboards for projection and instruction. A good deal of wiring had to be replaced or upgraded. Rooms 301-304, 601-2. 701-2 were refurbished at a cost of c$95k. Twenty-eight new laptops with webcams were ordered last term in response to the prospect of extended online learning. Nineteen have arrived and will be commissioned for staff use in online mode and for use in teaching spaces when school resumes. Cost $30k. As part of the continuing development of the COLA, a new slab and short pathway were laid to accommodate more water storage tanks and at least one large storage shed for sports equipment. The first stage of this project cost C$16k. The great support shown by our school community for the SHSF Building Fund and Technology Levy, has given us the resources to affect materially, the resources and amenities at our school.

Driving Students to School - Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Last term we had a logistics problem when so many parents opted to drive their sons to school and pick them up in the afternoons. It is imperative that parents follow the school protocols in the interests of safety and efficiency. When entering the school grounds from Cleveland Street, please use gate one, turn right and drive along beside the tennis court. Drop off your son and proceed to gate 2 where you can turn left or right. Ask your son to meet you at the same spot if an afternoon pick-up is required. If entering the grounds from Anzac Parade, please use gate 9 and turn right immediately. Proceed beside Killip Wing and then drop off your son. You need to exit through gate 10. The boom gate operates automatically when it senses your vehicle. Arrange to meet your son in the same location in the afternoon for a pick-up. Your cooperation will help to expedite the movement of a larger volume of cars in a shorter time.
Dr K A Jaggar

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