September 4 – College update on COVID-19

September 4, 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Guardians of St Patrick’s College,

As we near the end of another extraordinary term, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the exceptional contributions you have made to reach this point under the most trying of circumstances.

Firstly, to the staff of St Patrick’s who have once again worked tirelessly to ensure this latest period of remote learning has been as successful as possible. Most of our teaching, classroom support and administration and maintenance staff have experienced significant changes to their workloads and lifestyles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic yet they have continued to put the learning needs of the boys at the forefront of all their efforts and for this I most sincerely and warmly thank them.

Secondly, to our wonderful students, who once again have been forced into a period of uncertainty and isolation and, for the most part, have continued to work hard and flourish while keeping a smile on their face. We know that despite having missed out on many wonderful experiences this year, the boys have continued to represent the College in the true spirit of St Patrick’s and for this we are extremely grateful.

Finally, but no less importantly, we thank our parent community for being ever-willing partners in the education of your sons. Never has this been truer than in this time of remote learning when you have been working hand-in-hand with our teaching staff and classroom support staff to ensure the smooth delivery of lessons. Together we have achieved many wonderful things in recent weeks and have learnt many valuable lessons which will help shape the College for some time to come. For this, we thank you.

Now, as Term 3 enters its final weeks, and ahead of the Victorian State Government announcements this coming Sunday, we would like to provide some information as to how the College might approach the next month. We hope the following information will give you some assurances and guide your planning for the coming weeks.

Subject to any mandated changes or amendments by the State Government, we intend that remote learning will continue for all students until the end of Term 3.

The final day of classes for students for Term 3 will be Thursday, September 17 with Friday, September 18 being designated a student-free day to allow time for teachers to mark any remaining Term 3 assessment tasks, provide feedback to students relating to these tasks and to begin writing the Semester Two interim reports.

During the final week of Term 3, on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16, essential assessment tasks for all VCE Unit 3/4 students will once again be held on-site in the Br W. T. O’Malley Sports Centre. Further correspondence regarding the scheduling of these assessment tasks and any additional School Assessed Coursework (SAC) times will be sent to Senior School students and their parents in the coming days.

As noted in previous communication, St Patrick’s College plans to commence Term 4 classes for all Years 7-12 students on Monday, October 5.  However, due to the heightened significance of the 2020 General Achievement Test (GAT) for all students studying a VCE Unit 3/4 subject, the College has deemed it necessary for Years 7-10 boys to continue with remote learning for the first three days of Term 4 (Monday October 5, Tuesday October 6 and Wednesday October 7). It is anticipated that boys in Years 7-10 will not be returning to on-site learning until Thursday, October 8. These arrangements will be confirmed after Sunday’s briefing by the Premier of Victoria.

While this is a significant imposition on Years 7-10 boys and their families, the continuation of remote learning for these students will minimise the possibility of a Senior School student contracting or spreading COVID-19 immediately before the GAT. Further information about the GAT will be issued to those involved in the coming days and weeks.

Subject to any further announcements by the State Government, students in Year 11 and Year 12 will be welcomed back on-site on Monday, October 5.

As previously noted, the Victorian State Government has scheduled Wednesday, October 7 as the day when our VCE-scored Year 12 students and any Year 11 student studying a VCE Unit 3/4 subject will sit the General Achievement Test (GAT) on-site at the College. Accordingly, on this day there will be no other classes offered for boys in Year 11 and 12 (either onsite or remotely).

Importantly, on-site supervision for vulnerable students in Years 7-10 or those with identified needs will not be available on Wednesday, October 7. Parents of these students will need to source alternative supervision for this day as these boys will still be encouraged to attend classes in a remote learning environment.

The Term 3 break would traditionally see students studying a VCE Unit 3/4 subject participating in onsite trial exams in preparation for the end of year exams. In 2020, these trial exams will be made available to students before the end of Term 3 with an understanding that students will be completing these at home and submitting completed papers for teacher assessment and feedback at the beginning of Term 4.

As with everything in 2020, the above plans are subject to change depending upon State Government advice around the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we thought it important to share with you our proposed schedule to, at least, give you some degree of certainty.

In addition, there are two further dates in Term 4 which parents should also mark in their calendar.

Friday, October 23 has now been declared as a public holiday by the State Government, coinciding with the AFL Grand Final which is being held the day after.

The College-scheduled exeat weekend which coincides with the Melbourne Cup remains unchanged. This means there will be no classes on Monday, November 2 or Tuesday, November 3.

Once again, I thank you for your constant and consistent patience and understanding through this time. Your ongoing support is crucial as we seek to obtain the best outcomes for each and every boy in this extraordinary time.

Have a great weekend!

Mr Stephen Hill

Acting Principal