Dear Members of the Marcellin Family

As we move into the Stage 4 Lockdown, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to all families. I hope and pray that you not only remain safe and well, but are able to navigate successfully these new circumstances we find ourselves in. For our part here at the College, we aim to continue to work in partnership with you to provide the best possible level of education and the best possible level of care for your sons in the weeks ahead. Part of that will be to communicate as succinctly as we can and as regularly as we feel is necessary without bombarding you daily. As was the case last time we went to a full Home Learning model, we will also provide regular opportunities for you to give feedback on how things are going at the ‘coal face’ of your home.

Home Learning Program (HLP)

The Home Learning Program for all students, including Years 11 and 12, began again on Wednesday this week. I have been so impressed with all of our young men, but particularly our Year 12s who have shown such resilience and adaptability over the past few weeks. This gives me great hope in their capacity to continue their commitment in the weeks ahead.

I would like to remind you that online classes from Wednesday until Friday this week will follow the same timetable as we have been using since the start of this term. That is, Year 11 and 12 classes will run for 50 minutes and Year 7-10 classes will run for 40 minutes with a 10-minute break between lessons. While this model is based on feedback and data from last time, over the coming days, further discussions will be had by staff to determine if any tweaking of the timetable will be necessary from next week. An update will be sent later in the week if required.

I would also like to flag that Friday 21 August, half-way through the lockdown, will be a pupil free day. This has the dual purpose of providing both a break from screens for our young men and valuable preparation time for staff

Wellbeing

I remind you that College Counsellors remain available full time for students via, Microsoft Teams, email and phone and the College is continuing its Pastoral time so students can connect daily with their Pastoral teacher and regularly with their House Leaders.

Students onsite

Earlier this week the government announced new criteria in relation to students being onsite over the next 6-week period. There are now just 3 categories:

children whose parents are permitted workers. The Victorian Government will provide further advice about this over the coming days.
vulnerable children in out of home care, children known to child protection and other agencies and children the school identifies as vulnerable
children with a disability who also fit one of the above two categories.

Fees

I am aware that a number of parents and carers have lost significant employment or business income due to the impact of COVID19. The College’s immediate priority continues to be to provide as much stability as possible for your son, and with this in mind we are committed to providing flexible and confidential financial support to aid with managing your school fee commitments for 2020. This is subject to our internal assessment criteria to assist in providing fairness and equity for all families.

We commit to advising you promptly of our response to facilitate your planning. Families requiring financial support are asked to email fees@marcellin.vic.edu.au and we will respond as soon as possible. As a Catholic school in the Marist tradition we commit to working with families to assist wherever we can over the coming weeks and months.

As we move into our Home Learning Program 2.0 you would be aware that there have been significant alterations required to the educational program and the method of curriculum delivery. This has required agility from staff and a significant amount of planning, preparation and a commitment to professional learning. In addition, we are looking wherever possible to provide additional support for your son’s learning. All of this is being done in an environment of lower fee income, additional costs associated with the Home Learning Program, and other COVID19 related items such as increased cleaning and sanitisation.

Consequently, we do not anticipate any general fee reduction in 2020. However, as outlined above, if you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID19, please do not hesitate to contact the College to seek assistance.

In closing, my prayers and best wishes to all in our Marist family. In the spirit of Saint Marcellin, we will roll our sleeves up and get on with the work at hand.

Best wishes

John Hickey
Principal