Our collective sacrifices
Like many of you I spent some of last Sunday watching the Premier’s press conference explaining the roadmap from lockdown. It struck me that yet another extraordinary feature of this already bizarre year has been the way that much of the information presented at government press conferences has had a genuine and immediate impact on our day-to-day existence. I could never have imagined a time where such fundamental tenets of life such as who we can congregate with, where we can go, how we can work and when our children can go to kinder or school have been determined and communicated in such a fashion.
The news on Sunday was disappointing for all of us. We would dearly love to be able to welcome all our students back on to campus and to have a speedy return to normality. The challenges of lockdown are taking their toll and we know that many within our community are finding the situation to be very tough.
We are so fortunate that our teaching staff have been extraordinary in their devotion and care and have utilised all their creative energies to provide meaningful and engaging learning experiences. They have also tried to offer support to ensure that our students’ emotional needs are met during this time. Nonetheless, it is clear that a number of students are finding the monotony and limitations of lockdown very trying and this is presumably exacerbated by the announcement of the extension of Stage 4.
Amidst this disappointment I also reflect on what we have achieved through our collective sacrifices. I must admit that when new daily COVID cases were peaking near the 700 mark in early August I doubted whether Victoria would be able to regain control of the pandemic. Considering the likelihood that each of those infected could infect at least one other and then another, it was easy to imagine the infection rate spiralling out of control. Yet here we are after six very arduous weeks and the relevant numbers are looking far better and there is justifiable cause for optimism.
I am frequently asked about what I predict the long-term effects of this year will be on students of various ages. Our teachers are mentioning that the vast majority of our students are making appropriate educational progress and are hitting the developmental markers expected at their age and stage. We believe that we will be well placed in the coming year to notice any deficiency and to work effectively to overcome this through targeted teaching and programs.
Other long-term effects may well be positive. It is likely that we will see evidence of increased capacities for resilience, grit and flexibility as these have been a necessity with coping with the current adversity. While it is indeed hard to generalise across a cohort, I believe that for many of our students this period has represented their greatest test and hardship. They have all had to find ways to cope with the challenges of their normal way of life being significantly changed. I hope that for many the skills that they have used to cope with these trying circumstances will become an available reservoir to draw from when faced with adversity in the future.
Throughout the gloom of the lockdown I have been continuously buoyed by the extraordinary dedication, positivity and generous support of our Senior Leadership Team, our School Council, the KDS staff and our parents and students. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything you do.