Following the announcements from the Queensland Premier and State Education Minister on Monday (13 April), Mrs Kiepe provided the School community with an update for Term 2 at Somerville House.
In line with the Queensland Government’s Stay at Home strategy, Somerville House will continue with the Somerville@HOME program on Monday 20 April, with an intention for a review of these plans on Friday 15 May.
This means that our campus will remain open for the supervision of children of the frontline healthcare workers and parents in essential services. A number of parents are in professions that are essential to community health and safety and are therefore unable to stay at home. Health authorities have placed great emphasis on the stay at home strategy to control the spread of COVID-19, so in that context, I ask that campus supervision is restricted to the families who have no other options.
Members of our corporate staff will supervise those children on campus, as they work on the Somerville@HOME program, directed online by their teachers. We will maintain strict practices to comply with the required physical distancing and hygiene protocols. As the School’s Tuckshop will be closed for the interim period, students will need to bring their own morning tea and lunch. Mrs Louise McGuire (Junior School) and Mrs Julie Brunckhorst (Senior School) sent separate email communications to parents to register for supervision on campus so that the School can schedule staffing rosters.
Consideration of the safety and risk to all boarders has led to the decision that we cannot safely open the Boarding House for all boarders in Term 2. It is not possible to reassure parents that all boarders living in the residential environment would be able to observe the requirement of physical/social distancing practices safely. A separate letter to boarding families, outlining further details, will follow later in the week.
Our teachers will continue to direct their focus to engage students in the online, blended learning programs for Term 2. Early next week, we will disseminate information about our continued focus on developing student-to-student and student-to-teacher connections, along with the pedagogy used to build important cognitive skills.
School routines in this time of disruption to the normal patterns of daily life are very important. Social connection through the ease of working with teachers on familiar subject content is also essential. Our educational approach must continue to be flexible and agile to be successful in the weeks ahead.
The School intends to continue to gather feedback from parents, staff and students, so that we may modify our approach with changes to the daily timetable and other aspects of the Somerville House classroom. Such changes will result from monitoring the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. Mrs Kiepe thanked the parents who have participated in online or phone conversations, providing the School valuable feedback.