Dromana Primary School is known for delivering A-plus education and care. October 12 marked the first day back in the classroom for foundation to Year 6 students after months of remote learning, and principal Andrew Haley and education support Lauren Christie wanted to make sure the students felt welcomed and supported.
Lauren explains: “At first we wanted to have a huge event to celebrate finally being back on site, but of course we couldn’t due to COVID-19 restrictions, so we went for the next best option. It was really all about saying thank you to our community, who have rallied together during lockdown. We are pretty lucky living where we do. Everyone within the school community has been patient and understanding and the students have responded well to the challenge of remote learning.
“We knew that some children might feel overwhelmed being back at school after so much time at home, while others would be excited. That’s one of the reasons we staggered the arrival of the students. Foundation to Grade 3 students arrived at 9am, while the rest of the school began at 9.30. All students and their families were welcomed by a huge ‘Welcome Back’ banner, and the gated area was completely covered in balloons kindly donated by local Lynda Coombs.
“One of the things we were particularly conscious of was the fact that all parents had to leave their children at the front gate. They aren’t allowed on school grounds at the moment, so students were taken to their classrooms by their teachers or other staff members just to make sure they felt safe.”
It must be a very strange world for our little ones at the moment, although children are often the most adept at adaption and going with the flow. That doesn’t mean it’s not tricky. Just imagine little heads bubbling over with rules and regulations like social distancing, constant handwashing and sanitisation, and seeing their teachers wandering around the yard with face masks on. COVID-19 normal.
Lauren concludes: “We were focused on making the transition back to the classroom as easy as possible for all students. This little celebration was just a small way of letting our community know how proud we are of them. They have coped really well throughout the pandemic. Dromana Primary School staff want them to know that we support them in moving forward and that we have all the safeguards in place – including a new system for contact tracing – to do so.”
Welcome back, everyone. It’s business as usual – almost!