From the Head Master

From the Head Master

For a number of years it has been commonplace to note that our world is increasingly volatile, unpredictable, chaotic and ambiguous. The events of this week have borne that out. Even as the tumult of the pandemic appears to be settling down in our context, we are now confronted by a highly-unsettled international order on the global level, and transport disruption on the local level, not to mention the inconveniences caused by persistent rain.

I make this observation, not to grizzle or to suggest that we have it tougher than previous generations, but to underline the wisdom of the old adage, “We prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

The sport of curling, which may have caught your attention at some point during the recent Winter Olympics, gives us a vivid picture of preparing the road. The casual observer will have seen intense and focussed effort being put into sweeping and clearing the ice in front of the puck, so that nothing can disturb its serene and smooth journey from one end of the rink to the other. It works in curling, but it doesn’t work with the journey of a boy from childhood through adolescence. The path is not smooth, it cannot be smoothed, and the future that lies ahead in adulthood will definitely not be smooth. As parents and educators, it is better to prepare our boys to deal with challenges and frustrations than it is to attempt to sweep them aside.

The principle works out in all sorts of ways. Training the boys early to pack their bags and make their lunches prepares them for the road. Allowing them to experience natural consequences without swooping in to rescue them also prepares them for the road. A boy who knows that a parent will drop everything to bring a forgotten item will not learn and grow from the experience. Likewise, a boy whose parent stands between him and a disciplinary sanction does him no favours in the long run. Even if he (and you) believe the situation to be ‘unfair’, and I note that nearly all our boys are highly attuned to potential injustice if it affects them, there is learning to be had in dealing with frustrations around ‘unfairness’, even if it is just knowing how to move on.

As most families will be aware, there have been further announcements made about the relaxation of COVID-restrictions in schools. While more information can be found on the School website at this page, some of the key issues for us are as follows:

  • Masks are no longer required for all Senior and Middle School staff and students. While masks are no longer mandated, staff and students may continue to choose to wear a mask. However, masks are required indoors for all Junior School and Preparatory School staff. Masks are strongly recommended indoors for primary students.
  • Masks continue to be mandatory on public and mass transport for everyone twelve years and older.
  • Regular surveillance testing of staff and students will not be required, but all staff and students are being issued with eight additional government-provided tests to be used when symptomatic or for peace of mind.
  • Confirmed cases of COVID-19 must still notify both Service NSW and the School of the positive test result. Students who are household contacts of confirmed cases must continue to isolate for seven days.
  • From Monday, restrictions around parental visitors onsite are being loosened. The School will gradually reintroduce contexts in which parents come onsite, maintaining particular caution around large-scale events that could mingle parents with students. Information regarding particular events and the usual routines will be provided by the Heads of Campus in due course.
  • From Monday, the Service NSW QR code check-in and proof of vaccination will no longer be required by visitors to the School. However, proof of vaccination is still required of employees, contractors and volunteers.

Obviously, we continue to urge members of the community to be vigilant for symptoms, not to attend the School if unwell, and continue to be cautious where possible with reference to ventilation, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. We should all continue to assume that we are coming into contact with the coronavirus, and monitor accordingly.

As of Thursday this week, the number of students isolating as household contacts has dropped to thirty, and the number of students who have current confirmed cases of COVID remains steady at sixty-eight, with most Year groups across the School having at least one case.

Detur gloria soli deo

Tim Bowden | Head Master

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