Class Iso 2020
On Sunday 22 March 2020, we received the news we had been anticipating that all schools across Victoria would close and commence preparations for a move to remote learning, and that a further announcement would be made regarding Term 2 after the school holidays.
The College Health Centre was well prepared. Several infra-red non-contact thermometers, alcohol swabs, disposable gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer had been obtained. Through liaison with the Department of Health systematic tracking of school community members who had been in close contact with confirmed cases was established and every negative test result received brought a small sense of relief, knowing our College community was safe from this virus. However, there was still more work to be done to ensure we were ready for future Government announcements.
Victoria was fighting a deadly virus, a virus that we couldn’t see, smell, taste or hear and De La Salle needed to be ready. Procedures were written, learning rooms were set up, isolation rooms established, (just in case) and entry/exit processes determined. The holidays provided valuable time to facilitate the requirements at school for the students of “essential workers” and those considered “vulnerable”.
Day 1, Term 2 commenced with a small group of students entering the College, not knowing what to expect. They responded to my requests to adhere to physical distancing and “please apply hand sanitizer and wait whilst I take your temperature” with ease and were then directed to an appropriately spaced-out desk.
Our first recess presented a new problem. How to keep them entertained during recesses and lunch times? We mitigated the risk, asked them to again hand sanitize, disinfected a basketball, and enjoy a game basketball, remembering to go through the whole process every time. By lunchtime, a very unique cohort of students formed new friendships as they enjoyed a sunny day, fresh air and commenced a game of “chasey” (albeit with new rules about non-contact tagging). Lunchtime ended, temperatures were again recorded and the students returned to their seats for remote learning until 3:05pm, when we were very pleased to announce we had all survived Day 1.
Fast forward to Day 4 and our group of students, now referring to themselves as “Class Iso 2020”, elected a senior student Thomas Simpson as “Captain Iso”. Deputy Principal of Students, Jessica Alger (safely) presented Thomas with a Class Captain Badge, which he pinned it on himself due to the physical distancing rules.
Day 7 brought another new consideration. How to facilitate receipt of VCD folios of our Year 12 students? A contamination site was established, 23 students arrived at Gate E and handed over their folios one at a time to a gloved staff member who went to great lengths to disinfect the folios, place them in a “clean” site, and arrangements were made for the Teacher to collect them.
I am enormously proud of the students who are attending and adapting so quickly to the new normal, even playing a game of “guess your temperature”. They are polite and courteous, self-motivated, highly disciplined and didn’t mind my constant nagging about physical distancing (at least never to my face).
We will see this through and come out the other side. At the end of “Class Iso 2020”, I want them all to look back fondly on our surreal days spent together and know that De La Salle College and the Health Centre cared about them and went to great lengths to keep them safe whilst in our care, as their parents work to keep all of Victoria safe. The College Executive and numerous staff members continue to support the Health Centre during these times and I thank each and every one of you.
Congratulations “Class Iso 2020”, you will all graduate with “Distinctions in Resilience” Awards.