Dear Secondary College Families,

COVID 19 is presenting significant challenges for us all. Over the past weeks, our wonderful teachers have been working incredibly hard – pulling double shifts in order to upskill and create online resources for students.

But we recognise that this time presents real challenges for parents and students, too. Our hearts go out to our Senior students who, in their final years of schooling are having to cope with the disruptions caused by this crisis. For many of you, this has also already been a time of uncertainty and stress – and the thought of having to take on the role of ‘teacher’ to your children while they are learning at home – just seems too much.

If you feel this way, please know that we’re here to support you.

We don’t want you to have to stress that your child will fall behind in his/her learning. For core subjects and Year 11 and 12 courses, over the coming weeks, our students will continue with the same curriculum they’d have covered if they’d remained at school. They’ll watch clips, write essays, complete activities, participate in live virtual lessons, take notes from video lectures, engage in video workouts… and much more. The form of the learning might be different, but the content will be largely the same.

There are definitely specific strategies you can use at home to help:

  • Check in daily with your children to ensure that they have been working;
  • Remind them to log on at 8.30 am for their form class roll call and to begin their lessons;
  • Put up their student timetable in a highly visible place and encourage your children to follow it throughout the day;
  • Ensure they have a quiet place to study. A desk in their bedrooms is ideal.
  • Encourage your children to exercise;
  • Remind them to get up from their computer every 20-30 minutes, where possible; and
  • Finally, please check your emails and remain in dialogue with teachers if issues arise.

Working together, we can keep our students progressing with their learning and assist them to develop some good habits.

But whilst we want you to help keep your child accountable, it’s also important that you enjoy your time together and look after each other.

Psychologist Dr Lisa Damour recommends a number of things parents can do to help their children through this time:

  • Initiate calm, proactive conversations about COVID19 with your child and let them know how they can help themselves keep healthy;
  • Stick to a routine. Kids thrive with routine and it can help us regain a sense of security in times of uncertainty.
  • Let them feel their emotions. Normalise them. If they feel angry or sad, let them. Things that might not seem important to us due to our relative life experience, maybe a big deal to an adolescent. If in doubt, empathy and support are the way to go.
  • Check in with them about what they are hearing, and be there to talk it through; and
  • Finally, create welcome distractions. Re-connect by playing games, cook meals together, read books aloud, plant a veggie garden, build a project… have fun and make memories.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, years from now, we look back on this crisis, and more than the fear, uncertainty and toilet paper shortages, we remember good times spent together?

One thing is for certain, we’ll come through this a stronger school community. And we’ll celebrate with you when it’s over.

In the meantime, from all of us at South Coast Secondary, God Bless and take care.

James Trimble