Keeping our community safe
Recently, Melbourne surpassed the unwanted world record for cumulative days in lockdown. This unfortunate milestone has been somewhat lightened by the first steps towards returning our students to their classrooms. This week we were thrilled to welcome our final year VCE students back for their classes and we eagerly anticipate the return of further year levels in the coming weeks.
The pandemic has thrown forward unique challenges that we have all had to accommodate. In all my years of teacher training and educational practice, I never anticipated that so much of our daily focus could be on matters relating to face masks, vaccination programs, ventilation and monitoring for fluctuations in student temperature.
I have been tremendously proud of our School community’s response to this challenging time. We have worked very hard to appropriately implement the required health recommendations and all the while have maintained a strong focus on doing whatever we can to support the educational and wellbeing needs of our students.
Time and again, we have heard from health experts who have explained that alongside good hygiene practices, vaccination remains our key strategy to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. We know that vaccination significantly reduces the risk of transmission of the virus and further that vaccination has been shown in Australia, and internationally, to dramatically reduce hospitalisation and the more serious health concerns associated with COVID.
I personally felt a surge of emotion and elation upon receiving my vaccination. It felt like such a privilege to be living in a time where scientists have been able to develop a safe and effective response to this most profound global challenge. The COVID-19 crisis remains truly devastating but it is almost unimaginable to consider how much worse it would have become without the innovation of the miraculous vaccines. I feel so grateful that there is an option available to decrease the risk to me and particularly, to those that I come in contact with.
I am also incredibly grateful for the extraordinary response within our community to get vaccinated. A few weeks ago, in anticipation of the State Government’s vaccination mandate, we conducted a survey of our staff with regards to their vaccination status. At the time, approximately 85% were fully vaccinated and approximately 95% had either received their first dose or booked an appointment for their vaccinations. Of course, this is no longer optional for school staff and by October 25 all staff members – teachers, assistants and support staff – will be required to be vaccinated in order to to work on campus.
We have also been proud to host our own vaccination hub at the School where 119 staff and students were vaccinated by the wonderful doctors from Airlie Women’s Clinic. Preceding this, we were honoured that King David parent Dr Doodie Ringelblum delivered a vaccination education session where students, staff and parents could ask questions to help them become better informed about the efficacy of the available vaccinations.
Across the private and public sector there have been a range of strategies which have been effective in rocketing up Australia’s vaccination rate to what is predicted to become among the highest in the world. I am hopeful that all eligible members of our community take the opportunity to vaccinate as a means of enhancing their safety, the safety of their friends and loved ones, and the viability of a return to normal life including face-to-face teaching on campus going forwards.