Latest News

Run Sheet for the Swimming Carnival.

This is the order of events for the Swimming Carnival today.  It is anticipated that events will begin by 10 am (after all studnets have had their water safety test) and be completed by 1:30 pm. We can't give an exact time for events as they will run continuously over the day.

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Last day for canteen tomorrow

Dear Parents and Carers

Tomorrow THURSDAY Feb 25th is the LAST DAY  the canteen will be open until further notice.  After many year of wondeful service to the school, Paula Papandrea will be finishing up as canteen manager.

The postiion has been advertised and we hope to find a new canteern manager as quickly as possible. Until then, the canteen will be closed.

I apologise for the inconvenience this will mean for some families.

On behalf of the school community I would like to thank Paula for her service and wish her all the best in her new endeavours.

Kind regards,
Ursula Jamieson
Principal

Swimming Carnival Spectators

This is just a quick note to confirm that parent spectators are allowed to attend the Swimming carnival on Friday 26/02/2021 at Stromlo Leisure Centre. Parent spectators will be required to sign in via the COVID app and pay a $2.55 entrance fee. 

Hope to see you there.

School Counsellor

SCHOOL COUNSELLOR

As part of the pastoral care program for students, St Thomas the Apostle School have access to a Student and Family Counselling service provided by CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn.

This year we have a new school counsellor. We welcome Ima Gina to look after our school in 2021. We have been fortunate to secure extra counselling hours this year. Ima will work on Mondays from 9am -5pm and Fridays from 12.30 -5pm.

A new online referral system will come into place in the future. For now, if you would like your child to access the school counsellor, please ask for a referral form from your child’s teacher. There are no fees to access this service.

Welcome back to school!

Dear Parents and Carers,

Here we are ready to get started for a sensational school year.


We are so looking forward to all our present and new students starting on Monday.

The school day now begins with the whole school assembly  at 8.50am. This is 5 minutes earlier than before and will allow classes to start at 9am. This change was approved and announced by the School Community Council last year. It doesn’t sound like much but it adds almost 17 extra hours of learning time over the year. All students are expected to be at school by this 8:50am. Supervision begins from 8.30 am and no student should be at school prior to this time unless participating in TEAMKIDS before school care program. Children arriving at school after 9am must come through the front office and be signed in by a parent of carer.

Monday Feb 1 is the first day of school for all students, Kindergarten through to Year 6. We are still limited by COVID-19 health restrictions but there are some welcome changes that I will elaborate on in the first newsletter. The two important ones for now are:


• Parents and carers are most welcome in the school grounds for morning drop off and assembly and again in the afternoon for pick up. It will be great to have you back again!


• The school will maintain the higher level hygiene and cleaning protocols, e.g. using hand sanitiser, hand washing, daily disinfectant spraying of play equipment and high use surfaces.


On Monday, assuming the weather is fine:
• Year 1 to 6 will come to the stage area and will find their class sign and put their bag in the line there. Don’t worry if they’ve forgotten which class they are in. All the teachers will be there to help them and to welcome them (and you) back to school. Parents are welcome to accompany them remain for a few minutes and can stay for the morning assembly. Parents must maintain social distancing from each other and other students during this time.
• Kindergarten students will begin at 9:30am on Monday morning in the hall as they did for the orientation mornings. This will reduce any overwhelming confusion for them on the first day among the whole school. During the day the Kindergarten teachers will show the students where and how to line up in the mornings with the rest of the school. From Tuesday morning parents can follow the same procedures for Years 1-6.

The weather forecast if for rain later in the day but if it is raining in the morning:
• Year 1- 6 students go to the hall from 8:30. Entry is by either the hall doors or the corridor from the carpark. Children are not to go to classrooms.
• Parents and Carers will need to say their goodbyes before the children enter the school building.

The school day concludes at 3.10pm.

At the end of the day:
• No students are picked up from classrooms.
• The drive through pick-up area is only for children being picked up by cars driving through.
• If you are walking to school or parking and meeting your child after school, this must be at the stage area and NOT the drive through pick up area. We are looking forward to seeing parents waiting under the big gum and socialising (socially distanced of course). It’s an opportunity for our new parents and carers to make acquaintances with our present ones.
• Whilst we love dogs, some children are afraid of them. If you are walking with your dog to pick up your child, please do not bring them on to the schools grounds. The best place to arrange to meet your child is at the gate near the bike racks.
• Please make sure your child knows how they are getting home and if the arrangement changes during the day, please do not hesitate to ring the front office and let Naomi or Lynette know. They will make sure your child’s teacher receives the message and can support them to go to the right place.
• TEAM KIDS will collect Kindergarten students attending after school care from their classrooms (this will be for the first month at least). Years 1-6 will meet the TEAM KIDS crew at the stage.
• A teacher remains on duty until 3.30pm. There is no need to be there at 3.10pm. Parents are welcome to come a little later to avoid any traffic congestion.
If it is raining on Monday, teachers will bring all students (who are not riding or going to TEAM KIDS) to the hall at 3:10. Parents and Carers will need to park and come to the hall doors to collect your child. Don’t rush as we will look after them until you get there.

Enjoy your final weekend of the holidays and we will see you all on Monday morning.

Kind Regards,
Ursula Jamieson
Principal

Update for families on COVID - 19.

St Thomas the Apostle School and Catholic Education continue to take advice from health authorities in relation to COVID-19. The Catholic Education Office has a team that is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it develops, paying particular attention to local hotspots and organising support for schools where required.

St Thomas' is practicing all safe hygiene practices in line with government advice. We understand that the situation is fairly fluid and we will communicate directly with you should there be any important changes in relation to our school operations in the coming weeks. We remind all families: 

·       If your child is unwell, they should not attend school.

·       Please ensure that anyone who presents with COVID-19 symptoms in your family is tested.

·       Parents should avoid routinely entering the school where possible but can attend meetings with teachers where required (physical distancing and hygiene measures still apply).

Should you have any questions in relation to our school and COVID-19, please feel free to contact Naomi or Lynette in the Front Office.

Kind  regards,
Ursula Jamieson
Principal

Welcome back for Term 3

Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back for Term 3. I hope you have had some down time over the last two weeks and that your children have had a restful break.

With advice changing every day, I have waited until now to give you an update on what restrictions will be in place for the return to school and what we will be doing to ensure we are COVID SAFE. While we are doing very well here in the ACT we feel for those in Melbourne and know that if could so easily be us if we become complacent. Some of the things that we had planned to resume from the beginning of term (eg morning assembly on the stage and Friday morning community coffee) will need to be on hold for a little while longer.

We have received information from Catholic Education regarding Term 3 restrictions.

  • Anyone travelling to the ACT from Victoria or a Sydney hotspot location has to enter self-isolation for 14 days after leaving.
  • Currently (as of 17 July), ACT Health considers the entire southern state of Victoria to be a hotspot and sites in south-west Sydney
  • Anyone returning to Canberra from these three locations is asked to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have any symptoms. The three locations and dates are:
  • Crossroads Hotel, Casula– between Friday 3 July to Friday 10 July
  • Planet Fitness, Casula– between Saturday 4 July and Friday 10 July
  • Picton Hotel, Picton– on Saturday 4 July, Sunday 5 July, Thursday 9 July or Friday 10 July

Unless there is a change in advice from the NSW and ACT Governments the following will be in place from tomorrow, Monday 20 July.

  • Morning drop off will remain as a 'Kiss and Drop' arrangement. New signs have been erected over the holidays so it is clear where this area is. If you need to get out of your car to help you children or to get bags out of the boot, please park in the nearby carpark to do this.
  • Students will not assemble as a whole school but will go directly to classrooms when the bell goes at 8:55am
  • Afternoon pick up will go back to 'normal’ and I encourage those of you who used to park and pick your child/children up from the playground, please return to doing that. For parents who are coming into the school grounds to meet their children at the stage, we ask you to please park behind the RED LINE (this has been repainted) in the carpark. At this stage, extra adults will not be permitted in the school building, so please do not walk into classrooms or breakout spaces.
  • We ask that you socially distance in the playground and that you leave once you have collected your children.
  • For those using the drive through pickup, all children will on the pavement on the school side.
  • In the event of wet weather, we will use the drive through pickup plan we had for Term 2. We will update you on that if and when it is needed.
  • Parents are welcome in the front office, remembering to maintain physical and using the hand sanitiser provided;
  • Any adult needing to enter the school building, must sign in at the Front Office, for tracing purposes;
  • Maintaining the regular hand washing and sanitising practices of students will continue;
  • Monday Community Prayer will resume in the church but with only 1/3 of the school attending each week and rotating through a three week roster. Unfortunately until further notice, they will be without parents.
  • Assemblies will resume but again, until further notice, they will be without parents in attendance. Performances will be recorded and parents given access to these;.
  • Excursions may resume, however we will work with the benefits of this given that many places have limits and restrictions still in place. We will organise more incursions to occur at school this term to support and enhance student learning;
  • Preparation for the Sacraments of Penance (Reconciliation) and First Eucharist will continue as previously communicated.

If any student has any kind of illness, even if it is simply a light cold or flu like symptoms, (cough, runny nose, temperature etc) they are required to stay home and must not attend school. If a student is showing any signs of illness, their parents and carers will be asked to collect them as soon as possible

Please ensure your children arrive at school between 8:30 am and 8.55 and note that the end of the school day will resume to being 3.10 pm.

Physical distancing and using hand sanitiser are still a requirement for adults. 

I appreciate your patience and supporting us with the easing of restrictions.  I know that it continues to be a difficult time for families, with many still dealing with significant challenges. We look forward to moving ahead over the next term to get back to some more normal routines and practices. I again thank you for your cooperation and support over the year so far and I look forward to welcoming all of our beautiful students back for Term 3 tomorrow.

Kind regards 

Ursula Jamieson
Principal

End of term thank you.

Dear Parents & Carers

Well we made it! – the end of a semester of schooling, the likes of which we hope we will not experience again.

I know I expressed this in the newsletter yesterday, but I wanted to make sure that you really do know how much the whole staff have appreciated your care and support over this time. We have heard many stories of learning under adversity and triumph over challenges, amidst the experience of Remote learning and the return to face to face teaching. I cannot thank you enough for the trust you have in our school.

I would also like to express my thanks to our incredible staff. They have dug deep in recent months to do all they can to support our students and families. Whilst they are tired and ready for a holiday, they have had many messages from you to thank them for their dedication and care. As the principal of this great school I am grateful for how inspiring they have been and how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful team.

Our students have also been tremendous. Their resilience and willingness to grow and adapt in these challenging times has been inspirational. We love our beautiful children.

I hope everyone can take some time this next fortnight to breath, rest, relax and spend some fun quality time with their family and friends. I sign off for the term more certain now than ever, that the St Thomas the Apostle community and all we stand for and live out, has been experienced fully this semester. Thank you!

Best wishes for a safe and restful school break.

Ursula Jamieson

Principal

Welcome back to school!

Dear Parents and Carers

We here at St Thomas the Apostle School are looking forward to having our students back at school tomorrow. Whilst there are a few students who, for various reasons, will not be able to return to school quite yet, it’s back to school for most.  Please be assured that all staff are fully aware of the anxiety and mixed emotions students and parents may be feeling about coming back to face- to- face classes. For many it will feel like the beginning of the school year all over again. Much focus will be given over the next few weeks on our student's well-being. To start, it might be helpful to begin with a reflection for yourselves as parents and carers. COVID-19 presents us with opportunities to grow, support others, and become Christ-like in new and different ways. Where are you on this graph below? Where would you like to be?

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 Here are some suggestions to help support you and your family for a return to school:

  1. Pay extra attention to your child’s emotions and needs:

As your child returns to school, they may feel a range of emotions, including excitement, relief, or worry. You may notice changes in your child’s behaviour, sleep, mood, interactions with others, or eating habits – these are all normal expressions of worry and by noticing and responding with care and support, you will help your child to feel better. As parents, it is important to be able to:

  • recognise signs of increased anxiety, stress or worry.
  • know that it is a normal reaction.
  • help children feel safe and supported.
  1. Be aware of your own behaviour:

It is important to understand the effect your own behaviour can have on your child. If you react in a way that suggests you are worried about your child going back to school, your child may worry too! Try to remain calm and positive when talking to your child about going back to school. 

  1. Reassure your child it is safe to go to school:

During the Remote Learning time, your family, along with staff at St Thomas’, have helped your child understand that staying away from school was necessary to keep them healthy and safe. Your child may now feel worried about whether it is safe for them to go back to school. To help your child feel safe and less worried about this, have clear and calm conversations and tell them the facts, including that:

  • The decision for students to return to school has been made based on health advice.
  • St Thomas’ School is a safe place, there will be plenty of soap at school so that everyone can wash their hands many times a day. There will be hand sanitiser in each classroom.
  • Our school cleaner is doing extra each night, particularly with all touch surfaces’. School desks etc will be cleaned daily.
  • They will be allowed to sit next to their friends in the classroom and during group activities.
  • The Government is keeping an eye on COVID-19 – if it starts to spread again, decisions about what we need to do to keep everyone safe will be made quickly.
  • If anyone at their school feels sick, they will stay away from school until they feel better.
  1. Prepare for changes to school processes:

Changes to our school’s normal processes are necessary to ensure physical distancing requirements for adults can be met. 

With these changes, it will now mean that you are unable to walk with your child into the playground. We understand that this may be unsettling for you and your child, particularly if your child is anxious about leaving you. Know that staff will be there to reassure children if they are anxious. We want to ensure students are safe at all times, including getting from the school drop off and into the school grounds.  Pick up arrangements for the end of the day have been changed so that everyone gets home safely. Teachers will go through how this happens with their class tomorrow.  Teachers will walk their class to the pickup areas for afternoon pick up. We will be sending home surname labels to place on the dashboard or under the sunshade of cars to make it easier for staff to see what family is arriving. 

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Please discuss the morning and afternoon procedures with your child so they know what to expect. Remember your feelings and reactions can transfer to your child. Remain calm and positive when talking to your child about the changes to routine. 

  1. Establish a back-to-school routine

Preparing for school and getting into a routine with your child will help make the transition back to St Thomas’ a positive experience.

Prepare to return to school:

  • Get back into the routine of waking up, having breakfast, and going to bed at regular times.
  • Discuss any issues or fears your child might have about going back to school.
  • Talk to your child about what they like about school and what they have been missing.
  • Talk through the routine of what it’s like being at school.

Before the school day:

Involve your child in:

  • Organising  their winter uniform so it is ready for the morning.
  • packing their bag – you might make a game out of it. A visual checklist can help your child remember what they need to take.
  • planning and packing their lunches and snacks. (The Canteen is taking orders via flexischools for Wednesday, Thursday ad Friday)

Try to have calm evenings and allow extra time to settle before bedtime if your child is feeling nervous or excited.

Allow extra time to get ready for school in the morning so that you are not rushing.

After school:

  • Talk to your child about their day, including what they enjoyed, what may have worried them, and what they found difficult.
  • Include some family time. Children may miss being at home with you during the day so it is important for them to feel close and connected with the family.

As I have said before, it is important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over. We will work closely together, staff, parents and carers to ensure that the return of students to school is calm, positive and  as safe as possible for all of us.

We are all looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces of the St Thomas the Apostle School Community tomorrow morning.

Kind regards

Ursula Jamieson

Principal

Return to Face to Face Teaching.

Dear Parents and Carers

First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to each of you for your support and loyalty to the school, during what has been a challenging time for you and your families. You have been outstanding, supporting your child/ren in their learning during this period. Staff have been resourceful and creative in the way they have adapted to provide a remote learning program in such a short period of time and we have all missed your children and their energy, humour and joy.

From an academic and welfare perspective, it remains our priority to return to face to face teaching when it is safe to do so. Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has continually informed us that it is safe for children and staff to return to school and for those who are not vulnerable. Health experts advise us that children are infected with COVID-19 at much lower rates than adults.

As I have said in previous correspondence, I would keep you updated with any announcements regarding schools. I am pleased to be able to give you information regarding a return to face to face teaching at St Thomas the Apostle School.

Following extensive discussion, review of the medical advice and guidelines, and considering the ACT context where there are now very few reported cases of Covid-19, the Director of Catholic Education has authorised a return to face to face teaching for all students (K-6) at  St Thomas the Apostle beginning on Monday 18 May – Week 4.

This is also in line with ACT Government schools plan to return to classrooms from Week 4. If for any reason there is an increase in the safety concerns for the students and staff before the 18 May this decision will be reviewed. 

As we prepare to have the children return to school for face-to-face teaching, it is essential that measures relating to personal hygiene and the health and safety of all members of our community are known and understood.

Below is some clear information on the arrangements and measures based on the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines, which aim to establish, where reasonably possible, best practice in relation to health and hygiene at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full document can be found here:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-advice-on-reducing-the-potential-risk-of-covid-19-transmission-in-schools-24-april-2020

We hope this will give you confidence in your child’s return to school and assist you in supporting the staff as we welcome students back into classrooms and to a COVID Safe School.

Extra hygiene and safety practices in place for when the children return to school:

  • Increased cleaning schedules and resources onsite during the school day to wipe down and disinfect high-touch areas, including classrooms and common spaces, in addition to regular daily cleaning.
  • Provision of extra hand sanitiser across the school.
  • Provision of extra hand soap for children to wash their hands frequently, particularly before and after recess and lunch time.
  • Frequent reminders to ensure children are practising good personal hygiene. This means, covering mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing or coughing & sneezing into inner elbow, frequent hand washing, not sharing food or drinks and minimising physical contact.
  • Please ensure your child brings a water bottle, pencil case (if they have one) and remote learning pack to school each day.
  • No child is to attend school if they are showing any cold or flu-like symptoms. They must remain at home, and stay away from school until they are no longer showing symptoms or have attended a GP who has instructed that they are fit and safe to return.
  • If your child, or family members or other close contacts are tested for COVID-19, your child is not to attend school until the results of those tests are known and are negative. Please advise the school if this situation occurs.
  • If your child has a medical condition that places them at greater risk from a return to face-to-face teaching at this time, please contact their teacher so that we can discuss their needs in greater detail and develop an appropriate plan for their circumstances.
  • We are attempting to minimise the number of adults coming onto the premises to reduce the possible risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please  telephone or use email as the preferred method of contact with your child’s teacher or staff member.
  • Revised arrangements for drop off in the mornings and pick up in the afternoons. More details will be in the newsletter this afternoon regarding these arrangements.
  • At this stage, there will be no assemblies or large gatherings of students for the remainder of this term. An exception to this is any evacuation or emergency procedure that may be required. (Fire alarm etc.)
  • If your intention is to keep your child at home please contact their teacher so that we can discuss their needs in greater detail and develop an appropriate learning plan for their circumstances.
  • After 18 May, if a situation arises where it is deemed not safe by health authorities for students or staff to be onsite, we will be able to move back to our comprehensive remote learning program as required.

Next week (Week 3) will continue as currently planned with Remote Learning. If you can keep children at home, please do so. All children whether at home or school will be working on a Remote Learning plan. If the situation arises where you need to send your child back to school, please inform me either by phone or email. I will need 3 days notice of this happening, so that I can ensure we have the required supervision essential for students.

This is very good news for our school and again, I thank you for your ongoing support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further clarification on any of these matters.

I continue to keep your family and the wider community in my prayers.

Kind Regards


Ursula Jamieson
Principal