COVID-19 INFO

Community Update - 25 March

 25 March 2020 

Dear Parents/Carers 

Thank you once again for supporting our journey through this truly difficult time. We want to honour your commitment to us and to support each and every family in a way that is tangible and real at the same time. Hillcrest Christian College is a community and in times of great trouble, we need to reach out and support each other in any way possible. 

Last night, and again this morning, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government’s position on the future of schooling in Australia. Schools will remain open. He does not want students to lose a full year of education and is making recommendations to help schools continue, albeit on a dual learning platform.   

Hillcrest has begun the process of moving to a dual platform, but I want to reaffirm to all families that we will continue to offer schooling in classes on a daily basis until the Government Health authorities tell us we can no longer do so. We have access to the best cleaning equipment available and our team of cleaners has been increased to ensure that all areas of the school are kept meticulously clean. We have and will continue to follow the best advice for the school to continue operating as normal. Should a COVID-19 case be identified in our community, we will let everyone know and follow the explicit advice of the Government Health authorities. 

Today’s message is one where I want to focus on what we can do at the College and how we intend to modify our practice to support families now that we understand the situation a little better. We are currently finalising how we can provide online experiences that are incredible and will include virtual choral and music lessons, as well as personal fitness programs and challenges. However, we are also seeing more than 50% of our families sending their students to school each day. For students at the College and students who are returning after trying the online approach or realising this is an ongoing situation, we have devised a broader program in line with the Government Health advice. 

These programs include; 

  • Supervised games during breaks with no contact and social spacing but loads of fun 
  • PE lessons that will focus on skills and fitness without contact and a focus on social spacing 
  • Performing Arts small group instrument lessons 
  • Choral small group lessons 
  • The introduction of virtual Debating activities 
  • A new modified Sparks and Flames program to cater for all students in the JLC while adhering to the Government requirements for social spacing 
  • A range of activities for SLC students to be involved which have no contact and social spacing 

I was speaking with a medical professional last night who pointed out that social spacing is not what we truly want. We actually want physical spacing rather than social spacing. In the UK earlier last year, the Government appointed a person as the Minister of Loneliness. Loneliness happens when social spacing occurs.   

This is not what we want for our community, rather we want people to stay socially connected but have a physical distance between them. We can’t change the terminology now, but we can ensure those around us feel supported socially but implement a physical distance between themselves and others. That is what a community does and if students are part of the online program, we still need to ensure they remain socially connected to their fellow students, teachers and the school in general for their own wellbeing and to share experiences together. Therefore, we are working hard to provide a truly exceptional learning platform which delivers more than just an education regardless of your child's location of either school or remotely. We appreciate your ongoing support as we endeavour to achieve this, such as the email below from Paul and Danielle. 

I just wanted to say a huge thanks, not only have you held it together and kept the utmost professionalism, but every single teacher has sacrificed so much to be there to help our children...You have created such a great environment that not only do my children want to be at school, they are sad at the fact this is happening and that it could take months to get back to normal... I wanted to let everyone know we appreciate it and pray huge blessings and abundance of God's love and protection over you all. Huge Blessings,
Paul and Danielle

Finally, I want to share a lesson I have learnt this week. C. S. Lewis gave an incredible sermon prior to the second world war where he tried to justify the continuation of education in a time where a world war was a distinct possibility. It is a brilliant oratory piece that outlines the true essence of faith and hope, but at the end he offers three mental exercises that he hoped would help the students in their current predicament. C.S.Lewis' message is summarised in this article and states;

"…self-control in place of excitement, faith in place of frustration, and sobriety in place of fear.  Favourable conditions will never come, and the scholar must learn to seek knowledge under unfavourable conditions. That is self-control. No one has time to finish the tasks of life, so the scholar must in faith entrust the future to God."

In short, we should always be learning, even when the world is filled with incredible fear and uncertainty. I encourage you to read the sermon. In these times of great uncertainty our resolve hasn’t wavered at providing an exceptional learning experience. 

Blessings 

Jeff Davis 

Executive Head of College