UPDATE- March 25th
Dear Challis Families,
Please accept my apologies, in advance, for the length of this message, however, I would like to provide an update on how Challis is responding to the current health situation impacting Australia today.
School is open and lessons are continuing at our usual pace and standard. I want to reassure you all that “entertaining and babysitting” is not our purpose; high quality teaching, every day for every child, is what we are delivering. Challis will continue to provide this education until instructed, by the Government, to close.
With this in mind, PR1ME, Phonics International, Lets Decode and Talk for Writing are all being delivered to the children who arrive at school each day. Due to the fact that many children move around the school for Spelling Mastery groups, we have chosen to stop this program until the end of Term.
While school is open, teachers are not expected to send work packages or student workbooks home. We are future planning for teaching, post Corona virus, when everyone returns to school. For this reason, all work books (PR1ME etc.) will be needed to pick up our teaching as soon as any restrictions are lifted. We are currently planning for a variety of scenarios, including potential school closure, should the Government make that decision.
Whilst the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, the Department of Education has established a team to support principals and schools. It is important that as a school community we apply common sense, factual information and a practical approach to COVID -19. This team provides us with regular updates and offers practical advice, with the health and safety of the community in mind.
If a WA school has a confirmed case of COVID-19, it will seek advice from the WA Health Department’s Chief Health Officer. The Chief Health Officer will, if there has been a positive COVID-19 test result in our school, close our school temporarily while assessment and tracing of exposure is conducted. A thorough school clean will then be carried out to make the school safe for the return of students and staff.
In this situation I will receive direct advice and support regarding the closure process and communication materials from the Department of Education’s Coronavirus support team. All families will be immediately contacted and provided with the relevant information. This contact may be during the school day, or before or after school. It is therefore important that we have up-to-date contact details for your children, please notify the front office if these have changed.
Parents will be advised of what class work could be completed at home during this temporary closure and provided with the details of how this will work. I appreciate that this may be a stressful time for our community, however, the safety of all students and staff is our highest priority – schools do close from time to time for a variety of reasons… we are determined to keep you fully informed at all times.
How to minimise the spread of COVID-19:
*these are the protocols we are following and teaching every member of our school community
Remaining connected with your teacher- currently 50% of parents have signed up to the SeeSaw App which is our main tool for communicating information specific to each classroom. If you have not signed up to See Saw, please contact your teacher for the code and ensure you sign up as a matter of priority. Remaining connected is extremely important as we look to a period of potential isolation. Please, please connect to See Saw.
Rumours- I am in my 17th year as Principal of this school. I am proud of our school community and am fiercely protective of any threat to our reputation, the health and safety of students and staff and to the orderly running of the school.
I am very unhappy about the rumour that was posted on a FACEBOOK page (not our FACEBOOK page) reporting that a parent who had tested positive to COVID19 was still sending their child to Challis. The source of that rumour was tracked, traced and proven to be a complete fabrication. Today, that post is still being copied and pasted to me from multiple sources distantly connected to our school.
Parents, I give you my personal guarantee that should we have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, I will notify you immediately. You will not need to wait for a rumour on the grapevine to be informed. Please do not pay any attention to posts, on any FACEBOOK page, in relation to this school regarding such an important health situation. The health and safety of our children and staff is my only priority and all day every day is spent working through measures that improve your child’s well-being, whilst in our care. Please do not pay attention to what is written unless it is coming from your teacher or directly from the school.
Water fountains- following on from my communication yesterday explaining that drink fountains would be out of use in case children place their mouths on the spouts, large water containers have been bought, filled and ice added. Children have a steady supply of icy water so they can fill their drink bottles whenever needed. Staff will continue to stop in at the shops prior to work to buy ice, in view of the hot weather forecast for the week ahead. Please send a water bottle in with your child.
Student illness- parents are reminded not to send children to school if they are unwell. If you aren’t sure whether they are too sick for school, do not send them in. We are sending home anyone who presents with a cough, runny nose, temperature or sore throat as our priority is keeping every child and staff member well.
Staff illness- Staff are working to the same health standards as children. They are not attending work if they feel unwell and they remain off work until their symptoms have cleared. Even the common cold is being treated with time off and a cautious return to work. We will check on numbers in each classroom and either provide a consistent relief teacher or move children to another class that has small numbers.
In order to prevent any potential rumours, I’d like to advise M6 parents that Mrs Jones will be absent for the remainder of the term. Mrs Jones has a pre-existing medical condition that places her in a higher risk category than the rest of the population and she has been advised by her specialist not to attend work. Mrs Jones is perfectly well. She is frustrated and upset that she cannot attend work and is working on a way to send messages to the M6 children.
Ms Carniel (J4) has received the same advice from her doctor due to her underlying medical condition. She is perfectly well and healthy but has been instructed to remain home from tomorrow.
Learning at Home- the Department of Education is building a website of resources that can be found at this link. The website has new resources being added to it frequently, so keep on checking and work through these learning opportunities together.
An excellent Maths website to access from home can be found at:
Finally, the Challis Community Primary School website will continue to be updated and improved for your convenience.
We are planning a wonderful surprise for children who visit the website! I wonder what you will find? It’s not ready yet.... but it will be soon.... keep on checking.
Lastly, a massive thank you to all our Challis families for your incredible cooperation, understanding and resilience. We have appreciated your kind messages to staff and offers of help. For now, the biggest request we have is that you do not send sick children to school.
Look after yourselves and I will be in touch tomorrow.
Please be aware that the school is open and is also well prepared should we be directed to shut down temporarily. It is important at this time that we have your up to date contact details so that you can be notified of any updates.
All teachers use SeeSaw as their method of communicating therefore it is important that you are part of your child’s classroom See Saw group.
Messages from the Principal will be communicated across three forums...
Like you, in your workplace and sporting/social spaces, we are all working and living within “unknown territory”. However, we must all work together to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all those round us including our families and ourselves.
I urge you not to panic and to consider what and how you explain information to your children. The following link may be of some assistance:
Unless otherwise notified, I will see everyone at school tomorrow and I look forward to meeting W8 parents in the staffroom at 9am on Wednesday.
Please follow the link below for FAQ from the Department of Health