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COVID-19 update - Saturday 5 February  2022

Dear Families of CBC Fremantle

I hope this communication finds you well and your sons have enjoyed the first school week of 2022. The staff have certainly enjoyed having them back.

Our Year 7s and Year 12s have had auspicious debuts to their new roles and the behaviour of all the boys at our assembly on Tuesday was outstanding. Sadly, it may be the final assembly for a while.

You will be aware much of the column space of news outlets this week has centered on school closures as a result of COVID-19 outbreak/s. Luckily we have been spared thus far, but I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we too make the news. In the meantime, we continually update and modify our weekly calendar to reflect the latest Chief Health Officer guidelines and Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) directives.

Thank you for supporting your sons in what has been a wonderful start to the year. Students are adapting well to the changes to their routine - bringing water bottles, wearing masks as directed to, at and from school. Please emphasise to your sons that wearing the mask on public transport is a real priority. I have already received an update from a member of the public who is keeping score about mask-wearing adherence among schools. Currently we sit second, which for compromised passengers is little comfort.

I would like to reiterate our two areas of focus – the safety and wellbeing of our community, and the continuity of teaching and learning. While there are no cases of COVID-19 amongst our staff or students at the moment, we are aware that other schools are not so fortunate and our prayers are with those impacted. We are also aware that this may eventuate at our school and are well-prepared in the event that is does.

We have some students who are currently in quarantine under the directions of the Department of Health WA due to recently arriving in the state, being a close contact or at an exposure site prior to the commencement of the school term. These students are learning online and are receiving as much support as we can offer.

I received a CEWA directive yesterday about school gatherings and off site events. Based on this and further conversation with CEWA, several events are cancelled or postponed. You would have already received information about the cancellation of our Opening Mass. I am disappointed to report that the parent information evenings scheduled for next week are also cancelled. In their place, we will produce a video and PowerPoint for each year group. Follow-up questions will be taken as they arise. The Year 13 breakfast and 95 Club assembly that were scheduled for next Friday are postponed.

Next week's Year 7 Camp and Retreat programme will go ahead at this stage. Please refer to camp-specific communication for more details.

As of Monday, we will try and keep the year groups in designated areas at break times in order to minimise transmission should any outbreak occur.

Below is a copy of the arrangements we intend to effect as of Monday for next week:

Events

  • Monday Staff Briefing – via email
  • Parent Information Evenings – replaced by video/PowerPoint
  • Year 13 Breakfast – postponed
  • 95 Club Assembly – postponed
  • Year 7 Camp – as planned
  • Year 7 Retreat Programme – as planned
  • Year 7 Swimming Trials – as planned
  • Interschool Sports Competition (Friday, Year 8 to 10) – as planned
  • Swimming Training (Tuesday and Thursday morning) – as planned

Year Level Areas – Recess and Lunch

Students will be asked to remain in the following areas (except canteen, toilets* etc):

  • Y7/8 – Cloisters
  • Y9/10 – Juniors' Courtyard, Ellen Street Perimeter
  • Y11 – Amphitheatre, Year 11 Courtyard
  • Y12 – 223 High Street

*At this stage, the library and oval will be open to all year levels but students must wear masks indoors and hand sanitise to enter, socially distance and stay in year level groups. The gym already has a limit of 50 students and limits year level access (based on days students wear their House uniform).

Thank you for your patience and support as we work through this changing time. Please let us know if you have any questions or scenarios to work through. We will let you know if there are any changes to these arrangements asap.

Yesterday was the first time I had to have a very difficult conversation with a parent, whose personal views were at odds with CEWA and the Chief Health Officer guidelines around COVID-19 mandates.  Despite us having opposite perspectives, I hope the parent felt the conversation was respectful from both sides. I understand feelings are high with some people, but respect should not become a diminishing commodity. People can disagree respectfully. CBC Fremantle is obliged, under the provisions of our registration and the current COVID-19 management provisions enacted by the WA Government, to comply with the Public Health Orders. I do not have the legal authority to provide exemptions to the Public Health Orders.

I will restrict forward-planning in this communication for the next fortnight. To quote Hemingway's memoir, this is 'A Moveable Feast'.

Warmest regards

Mr Domenic Burgio
Principal