From the Head Masterdeveloper
Happy New Year and welcome back to School!
Many staff and students have expressed joy, albeit in different ways, at the return to School this week. Whilst it is usually the case that the boys are excited to come back to School after the holidays, I suspect that the experiences of extended periods of remote learning have helped the boys to appreciate all that is good about being face to face and on the School grounds.
The start of this year has been significant for a number of reasons. On Friday 28 January, we formally opened the new facilities in the Llandilo building and the playground at the Preparatory School. The disruptions that were associated with the construction period last year are now forgotten, as the boys and staff make the most of the wonderful new facilities.
This week also saw the commencement of the extended Field Studies Programme (FSP) at our campus in Woollamia. For more than two years we have been working towards a term-long residential programme for our Year 9 boys and we are delighted that it has now commenced. Updates from the Field Studies Centre are also in this Bulletin and on the Field Studies Programme page of our website. I am confident that this evolution and extension of our long-standing remote residential programme will be a positive transformational experience for our boys on their journey to adulthood.
In the last fortnight we have also been notified that the Independent Planning Commission approval of our State Significant Development Application for the Summer Hill site has become operative. Most of the work being done to secure this approval has happened below the horizon for most of the School community, but in the near future I expect to be able to communicate with the community in much more detail about The Renewal Project, as this development is known.
I trust that you and your son(s), along with the staff, are looking forward to the adventures of 2022.
There are two mundane and operational matters that I wish to bring to your attention in this first Bulletin of the year.
The first has to do with COVID-19. I have written to families already about the School’s approach to implementing risk mitigation strategies, the NSW Government’s surveillance testing initiative, and the requirements around notification and isolation for confirmed cases and household contacts. The School is maintaining a page on our new website that will have all our up-to-date information about COVID. You can find it at this link, or by searching for “COVID” on the website.
The NSW Government has requested that the School notify its community when confirmed cases occur. Rather than pestering you by sending an email every time we are notified of a confirmed case, I propose to provide you with an overview of case numbers each week in my Bulletin article. The best path seems to be to assume that each of us has some sort of contact with the virus at some point in our day, to monitor closely for symptoms and to follow the advice of NSW Health.
As of Thursday this week, there were thirty-nine confirmed cases among students across the School. Most Year groups are represented, although the Junior School and the Preparatory School appear to be under-represented in the numbers and Year 11 are slightly over-represented. A further twenty-two students have reported that they are isolating as household contacts. All things considered, this rate of infection is less than I had expected and I suspect that these numbers will increase in the weeks ahead.
Please ensure that you notify both NSW Health and the School if your son tests positive. The Trinity app has a category for COVID-positive cases.
The second matter that I want to address has to do with traffic and parking. It is always the case that traffic around schools is worst at the start of the year. More families seem to drive, and the School’s management plans and practices are not necessarily well-understood or followed. In addition, I think that this year there may be some particular reluctance to use mass transport – whether public transport or the School buses – for COVID-related reasons. All of which is to say, it may take a little time for traffic issues around the School to settle down to the normal levels.
The School has published detailed traffic management plans which can be found on our website. Please make yourself familiar with them and make every effort to adhere to them.
It would be very helpful if some of the following steps could be taken, particularly with reference to the Summer Hill campus.
- Utilise the buses or active transport (walking or riding) wherever possible.
- Consider establishing a pattern of drop-off or pick up at a small distance from the School, so that your car does not need to go into the carpark, or travel on the streets on the boundary of the School. Walking a couple of hundred metres is well within the range of most of our boys most of the time.
- Do not arrive in the Summer Hill carpark until your son is ready to be picked up. We are staggering the finish times as a way of diminishing the peak load. Years K-4 of the Junior School will be ready for pick up from 3:00pm and Years 5-6 will be ready from 3:15pm. Middle School students (Years 7-9) will be dismissed from class at 3:30pm and Senior School students (Years 10-12) will be dismissed from class at 3:40pm.
- If you do not have a pressing need to get away immediately, perhaps arrange to pick up your son in the Middle or Senior School a bit later, such as 4pm. At this time the car park is empty, the queue non-existent and your time used more efficiently. Your son is always welcome to visit the library for fifteen minutes whilst he waits for you.
- Finally, be aware that your sons learn a lot from the models that they see. If you consistently drive in a safe, courteous and patient way, you increase the likelihood that your son will do likewise when his time behind the wheel comes!
At the induction of the 2022 School Officers this week, the Bible reading came from Philippians 2. Verses 3 and 4 read:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
It is a very practical exhortation, which is equally able to be applied in the carpark, in the classroom and in the playground. May God grant us the grace to put it into practice this year.
Detur gloria soli deo
Tim Bowden | Head Master