Hinei ma tov umanayim
Hinei ma tov umanayim, shevet achim gam yachad. It is indeed good and pleasant to be able to sit together as a school community again after so many months of remote learning. It is tremendously exciting to think about how complete our joy will be when our Year 8s and 9s will be able to re-join the rest of the School on campus so soon.
The return to campus has been exciting for students and teachers alike. While there has been some adjustment required to accommodate a lack of immediate access to a pantry throughout the school day and mid-afternoon fatigue has been a noticeable element of the first days, our returned cohorts have, nonetheless, done very well.
We have also been working hard to ensure that the School implements a COVID Safe Plan that responds to the best advice on offer from the relevant health authorities. While this has necessitated some changes to our regular operations we feel that we are able to provide a safe environment where our students are still free to learn and experience a broad array of experiences that contribute to their holistic development.
The educators have expressed to me how enriched they have been by the return of their students. It is apparent that while we have worked so hard to ensure that we make the most of the distance learning classes, the reward of hearing our students laugh when they run around at lunchtime or a quick conversation at morning health check is unparalleled in the online experiences.
In the first week of having many year levels back on campus we have celebrated in a number of ways. The Year 12 Hanhagah leaders came in on Sunday evening to decorate the senior campus to inspire the students with positivity upon their arrival. Likewise, the Junior School students were greeted with pumping music and excited teachers. Our Year 6s enjoyed cupcakes, our Year 7s hot dogs and our staff – a celebratory morning tea. All this contributed to countering the first day nerves and to ensuring that spirits remained high.
Throughout the pandemic, I have repeatedly written about how awestruck I have been at the professionalism and flexibility demonstrated by KDS staff. This has again been obvious this week. Our staff have determinedly pushed their needs aside and focussed wholly on our students. We are truly blessed to have such an incredible dedicated faculty.
It can also never be overstated just how grateful we are for the tremendous role that our parent body have played in ensuring that our students have largely managed to navigate the COVID 19 crisis so well. Our parents have shown extraordinary support to the educators, have worked so hard to assist in the implementation of the learning program and have shown compassion when things have been so uncertain in their own lives. We are acutely aware that juggling work and life commitments while supervising distance learning has been immensely challenging for our parents. Despite this, our parents have embraced the challenge and have worked in close collaboration with the teaching body. This has ensured that our students are well placed to continue their learning journeys.
The proverb that absence makes the heart grow fonder is truly apt. One of the key learnings from this week has been the reinforcement of how much we had been missing the daily in-person connections with our colleagues and students that COVID had denied us. We are grateful to have nearly the whole school back but truly cannot wait for the remaining year levels to return and make us whole again.