The importance of community, care and connectedness

I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon, conscious that the spread of COVID-19 is rapidly impacting many, if not all, aspects of our lives. That impact is already very real and unsettling for so many people. While we acknowledge the difficulties being faced around the world, it can be hard to try to focus on the positives, but it is necessary to do so to sustain ourselves and those around us.

While much has changed since I wrote to Senior School families last Friday, the importance of communities has not:

We all need to be conscious of each other, our Carey, local, national and international communities. We can all help each other directly and indirectly by how we relate to each other, how we respond and the messages we share.

I hope some of the fear and panic that has influenced hoarding and disputes over groceries will be replaced by consideration and care for others. The shortages were artificial. The reality is we must rely on each other.

Perhaps classes will resume on site in under three weeks from today, but the situation is changing rapidly and that decision will be made at a later date based on advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer. While we await that decision, we continue to refine arrangements to support our students and their learning while not holding classes at school.

Last Friday we rescheduled the Year 12 Formal to August. Today, in the face of this challenging time, the significance of expensive suits and dresses, fine dining and social media posts of previous Formals seems diminished, when instead we are focussing on a new way of living. However, we very much look forward to a reimagined Year 12 Formal and many other occasions and ways to come together and reconnect in the physical world, just as soon as we are able to.

Understandably, Year 12 students are probably feeling a heightened sense of uncertainty. As our IB and VCE Co-ordinators have reassured us, the managing authorities for the IB (IBO) and for the VCE (VCAA) have both provided assurances that they are planning for the possibility of extended periods when students are not able to attend classes at school. And as in other years, Senior School students will be set review and preparation work for the term break.

Teachers and curriculum leaders have shared ideas with students and parents on ways to approach these past three weeks of school online. Some of these ideas and other suggestions are available in an article which was published in The Educator Australia on Monday 23 March. The article is titled How to keep kids calm at home, but be assured that it contains very helpful advice for assisting students in navigating new routines and working environments.

Best wishes for the school holidays.

Graeme Young
Acting Head of Senior School