Tuesday 19 May 2020

Following the Premier’s announcement that all Queensland Government students will return to school on Monday 25 May, we look forward to welcoming back our Somerville House students in Years 2 to 10 to resume on-campus learning. Parents – on behalf of all staff, I thank you for your contribution and encouragement of our staff during the remote learning experience of Somerville@HOME.

Transition to school-based learning

From this Monday, students in all year levels will return to school and participate in classroom learning. We will continue to follow the advice of the State Government Chief Health Officer, in conjunction with the directions provided by the Federal Government Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). Somerville House will take advice from the medical experts and implement appropriate arrangements for a safe transition for academic staff, corporate staff, parents and carers and students.

Students learning at home due to medical reasons

Students who are unable to return to school due to medical reasons will be supported, just as they would in the case of any extended student medical absence. A Senior School student (absent for medical reasons) will be able to join her classes via Microsoft (MS) Teams and access learning resources via My Subjects or via her teacher’s emailed instructions. A Junior School student (absent for medical reasons) will have access to workbooks, worksheets and online learning subscriptions provided by the classroom teacher.

Years 7 to 12 teachers will be able to video stream via MS Teams during lessons to show their working on the board or share their screen for those students who are unable to attend on campus.  This means that students with compromised immune systems, as well as boarding students who cannot return from overseas destinations, will be able to join their timetabled classes via MS Teams.

Student absence due to parent/carer choice

It is recognised that some parents may choose to keep their daughter(s) at home due to concerns about COVID-19.  It is the School’s intention to offer normal teaching arrangements on campus. It is not possible for the teacher to provide face-to-face teaching, as well as an alternative learning at home program, where parents elect to keep these students at home.  From Monday 25 May, teachers will be teaching face-to-face within the classroom environment.

In this situation, both supervision and continuity of learning are the responsibility of the parent or carer. For Senior School students, teachers will make appropriate learning activities available via MySubjects or email, and students will be able to join timetabled classes via MS Teams.
In the Junior School, learning resources will be provided by the classroom teacher.

Assessment Tasks

Any tests that students complete off-campus in the coming weeks may not be able to be used for that student’s reporting or academic awards results. Students with specific medical needs or boarders who are unable to return will have approval for the required assessment adjustments.

Hygiene Protocols

Somerville House staff will continue to implement strict hygiene practices to support the back to school-based learning transition. Such protocols include effective and regular hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, restricting visitors to the School and reminding you to notify the student absence line if your daughter will not attend school.
We will also implement specialist cleaning products (effective for a 24-hour period) and additional cleaning practices to clean high use touchpoints in and around the School, with extra attention applied to high-frequency touch point surfaces such as door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps and sinks.
Parents and carers are asked to note the requirement for adults to maintain physical distancing of 1.5m at all times while on school grounds. Parents and carers should not gather in areas around the campus, such as carparks, at the School entry gates or outside classrooms during this time. Please make use of our stop, drop and go zone on the driveway loop via Gate 1 entry.

Tuckshop & Uniform Shop

The School Tuckshop will be open for Flexischools orders only.
The Uniform Shop continues to offer winter uniform fitting appointments. Students currently have the option to wear summer or winter uniform, with the compulsory wearing of the winter uniform from Monday 1 June.  In the Senior School, wearing of the PE uniform is permitted to and from school only on days where HPE is scheduled, due to closure of locker rooms. This will apply until further notice.

We advise that uniforms should not be mixed.  Students must wear their full formal uniform or their full PE uniform.

Seymour Library and Cotton Library

The Seymour Library and Cotton Library will resume normal operating hours from Monday 25 May
For your convenience, the open hours for staff and students are:
Seymour Library
Monday to Thursday, 7.00am to 6.00pm (Years 11 and 12 students access Study Lounge until 6.30pm)
Friday, 7.00am to 5.00pm
Cotton Library
Open for independent borrowing by students:
8.00am to 8.15am; 1.00pm to 1.15pm; 3.00pm to 3.15pm
Open for regular school classes:  8.30am to 3.00pm
Our Library staff will quarantine and sanitise the borrowed library books and devices.

Boarding Arrangements

Somerville House is working with the advice provided by the AHPPC and the Queensland Chief Health Officer regarding considerations for the risk management of fully re-opening our Boarding House. Currently, we are waiting for an update on the AHPPC recommendations. The Boarding House plans to welcome back a reduced number of Years 7 to 10 boarders from Monday 25 May. The Head of Boarding has worked with local public health authorities to manage and mitigate risk, in conjunction with families in identifying students for whom a return to boarding is essential.

Co-Curricular Program

As the return to school transition progresses, a focus will be maintained on those activities essential to the classroom learning and teaching program.  Our focus will ensure that we continue compliance with the State Government’s easing of restrictions roadmap. Co-curricular activities will implement the staged return for face-to-face music, sport or cultural and community programs as advised separately by each Director or Co-ordinator.
In the interim, co-curricular activities will be offered as Co-curricular@HOME programs, until the government eases restrictions on face-to-face gatherings.

Specific areas of the School

Locker rooms remain closed in the Senior School.
The Swimming Pool is open for Squads, Physical Education classes and staff, in line with the guidelines published in the ‘Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions’:

  • one person per lane per lap swimming
  • no spectators, except for up to one parent/carer per child, if necessary
  • communal showers and student change rooms are open for students only
  • toilets remain open
  • minimise the use of communal facilities
  • shower with soap before and after swimming.

Timetable Arrangements

Our school timetable will revert to the standard school timetable for on-campus learning.

Student Absence

It is essential that you keep your daughter at home if she is unwell. In accordance with Queensland Health Directions, parents or carers of any student showing signs of illness will be asked to collect them immediately from the School.

Further Updates

In the weeks ahead, as more information becomes available in relation to the easing of restrictions, the School shall assess the postponed calendar events and communicate accordingly to our Somerville House community.  Finally, Mrs Kim Kiepe expressed her personal thanks for the School community's ongoing care and support of each other. Kim reminded the community that it is very important that we each provide kindness, care and calm in our engagement with others, as we work through these different and difficult times.