Friends’ Community COVID-19 Update
Posted on April 9, 2020
My deepest hope is that this letter finds you and your family healthy and well. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous upheaval throughout our world. There is little need for me to reiterate that there are complex challenges ahead of us all.
Today I am reaching out to every member of The Friends’ School community; our alumni and their families, our current families, current and former staff and our friends and volunteers. Please know that wherever you are in the world, The Friends’ School continues to hold each of you and your families ‘in the Light’.
This unprecedented event confronts our usual interactions and way of life. Please reach out to those in your network, especially any community member who may be vulnerable or far from home. If there is a way that the School can help connect people, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know where in the world you are, and how you are getting on. Community is central to the School’s shared core beliefs and now is the time for us to lean in to ‘community’ with resolve.
Here at the School, we have followed the directives of government and health authorities as measures have escalated over the past few weeks. It has been a rapidly changing landscape.
Last week the School transitioned to distance learning for all Kindergarten to Year 12 students. Our School staff, students and families are connecting in ways thought unthinkable only a very short while ago to continue the educational process while keeping the School’s core values front and centre.
Arrangements are in place for students whose parents have occupational requirements that prevent them from caring or supervising their children at home to undertake their distance learning under staff supervision on the School campus. Friends’ Early Learning, as an Early Childhood Education and Care provider, is currently defined as an essential service provider, therefore it remains open. Friends Health & Fitness, however, was forced to close by government order on 23 March.
The first days of distance learning have been approached with great goodwill by students, staff and families. It has been fantastic to witness students online engaging with each other and their teachers. I have also been buoyed by the enthusiastic response by the teachers and their collaborative planning for distance learning. Whilst it is likely that we will remain in this mode for all of Term 2, naturally, we will continually reassess the pandemic health situation in the hope that we can return to normal face-to-face classes sooner. We are all learning new skills.
Many in our community have asked what they can do to help Friends’ at this time and a future communication will explore that. Some current families will face hardship and the School’s development plans must be carefully balanced. Our dedication and commitment to student growth and enhancing educational outcomes has not changed. In many ways, it is more important than ever. Even if we do not have all the answers, we will proceed with bounded optimism, to find ways to achieve our aims.
The School will be updating you from time to time and staying in touch. Where we have email addresses we have used them to communicate with you today. The contact details for current parents can be updated by email to the School and for all other community members via the website link.
Now, as much as ever, we must collectively work together and do what is right for our community. We thank everyone for their efforts to minimise the impact of COVID-19 across the world. Our continued commitment to strict hygiene and physical distancing measures will save lives.
I thought I would end by sharing with you an Advice and Query from the Australian Yearly Meeting pamphlet. I hope that you are able to find some time for yourself and reflection.
Children and young people need love and stability. Are we doing all we can to uphold and sustain parents and others who carry the responsibility for providing this care?
Principal – The Friends’ School
Nemo sibi nascitur – No one is born for self alone