Open Letter to school teachers and support staff

Dear Colleagues,

We are almost two months into our ‘new normal’ which has escalated from a handful of students and staff being absent (due to being in higher risk groups), followed by a transition to online and remote learning (while most staff were still maintaining face-to-face services for children of essential workers and others requiring care), and now to a staggered return of students to school to create some normality for our families.

We have done this while all universities and vocational training centres have either closed or moved to a total remote learning model. We have made this transition in the face of mixed messages from our sources of authority. 

This letter is an expression of gratitude, a shout-out to school staff, to my staff at Bishop Druitt College, and to the staff in other independent, Catholic and public schools. They have been resilient, caring, innovative and adaptive. 

Schools have had to challenge the normal schooling paradigms and created a host of amazing outcomes, many of which will survive long after the COVID-19 issues are just a memory. 

Teamwork in schools has improved, departments of all flavours have been working together to problem-solve and to create positives where anxieties and genuine concerns were dwelling. Online learning has been accelerated with teachers and students adapting beyond expectation. Over the last month non-essential homework has been replaced by family time. Principals and their leadership teams have adapted quickly to be more responsive to their communities, to increase their communication, to listen to their families’ needs and endeavour to juggle government policy, workplace health and safety requirements and to keep their schools safe. School teachers and support staff are continuing to do these amazing things and still focus on schools being places of high quality teaching and learning.

I know I am speaking for all Principals when I say thank you to all school staff for their professionalism, dedication and support. We will continue to do this work for our students.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Johnstone

Principal - Bishop Druitt College