Since the return to school, over twenty schools in the ACT have had cases of COVID exposures in their school. There has been a significant shift in how ACT Health, the ACT Education Directorate and Catholic Education respond to these incidents. Again, I will use the experience of St Anthony’s at Wanniassa which saw only one class go into isolation when a COVID positive case was found to have been at school. This is a big shift from when all of Holy Spirit went into isolation when a case happened at their neighbouring school of Gold Creek.
When the case was detected at Wanniassa, staff from the ACT Health and Catholic Education worked with the school leadership team to identify who had come into close contact with that particular person. How students entered and exited the school, the cohort structures they had in place, staff rosters and student movement around the school for specialist classes were some of the data they examined.
A close contact was deemed to be a person who had been in a room with the infected person for thirty minutes or more. In the end five staff and one class of students needed to isolate.
St Anthony’s were fortunate that all classes were grouped in year levels and were separate from other year levels. Entering and exiting classrooms took students straight outside with no shared common areas like our breakout spaces. Not all schools are similar, so responding to outbreaks in schools will differ from site to site.
St Anthony’s continued to be open for other students and a deep clean was carried out only in the areas used by the isolating students.
As I said to staff this week, I think incidents like the ones experienced by St Anthony’s and other schools will continue to happen. It is something we don’t want to occur this late in the school year and it will be by a combination of good practice and good luck that we can avoid facing this dilemma.
Last week we conducted interviews for a number of positions at MTS. The following applicants were successful and will join us in 2022.
- Jessica Allen (Classroom teacher – year 5)
- Stephanie Foley (Japanese teacher)
- Dahne Mulan and Jackie Broch (Learning support assistants).
I congratulate and welcome these staff members and wish them a long and happy association with MTS.
At last week’s Community Council meeting the school budget and fee structure for 2022 were accepted. While there was a rise across the board, parents of multiple children will notice the decision by Catholic Education to raise the cost for multiple children to a greater extent.
The last few elections have seen the non-government sector in the ACT calling for greater funding from the ACT Government. The funding of Catholic schools by the ACT Government is the lowest of any State Government in Australia and continues to decline. Below are some points related to the increases in fees for 2022.
- Funding cuts will result in every Catholic School student receiving $130 less on average from the ACT Government next year. By 2023 every student will be receiving $271 less on average from the ACT Government than they do now. As a result, total government funding will not keep pace with expected cost increases.
- Our sibling discount structures are currently significantly higher than other Dioceses (see chart below)
- Fees have been prepared recognising the current economic climate impacted by COVID-19. Families facing financial hardship will be supported through fee remission provisions on a case by case basis.
- It is a policy of the Archdioceses that no student should be refused enrolment, excluded or disadvantaged because their family is unable to afford fees. Should families face financial pressure as a result of the fees they can have a confidential conversation with the school regarding available assistance to ensure their child can continue their Catholic Education uninterrupted.
Save the date
This year we will again be holding Christmas Carols on Friday 10th December. We are very fortunate to have secured the services of the wonderful trio of singers from ‘O Christmas Trio’ to again entertain us. After such a challenging year it will be a wonderful way to celebrate. Please note COVID restrictions will be in place. More information will follow on this in coming weeks.
Last week we received no solutions to the maths problem perhaps it was because it was the first week it had appeared in the newsletter for several weeks so the same problem will be posed this week.
Two numbers multiply to make 360. One of them has a zero on the end. What might the two numbers be?
How many solutions can you find? Can you see a pattern between the two numbers?
WHOLE SCHOOL FOCUS The Whole school focus theme for this year is:
‘We Are Bee-Attitude Keepers”
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
14 November 2021 - Year B
“The Son of Man shall gather his
elect from the four winds.”
Something to Think About
Do you sometimes think about the future?
What would you like to be when you grow up?
There are some amazing images of God’s creation in today’s gospel story.
The message is that we don’t know what will happen in the future – only God knows.
Reflecting on the Gospel
None of us knows our future.
It is important to make the most of the 'now' times, to live as if there were no tomorrow.
How would you live differently today if you knew it was your last day on earth?
On Thursday many of our students made their First Eucharist at the Holy Spirit Church.
Congratulations to the children and many thanks to the parents, teachers and children for the time spent in preparation for this important Sacrament. All the children are very excited and can’t wait to receive their First Eucharist.
The students were all very reverent and aware of the importance of the sacrament. Please continue to pray for our students who will be making their First Eucharist next week.
Please pray for our Year 3 teachers and students who are currently preparing for the Sacrament of First Eucharist. Thank you for your patience and commitment during the past few months.
First Eucharist Blessing
May Jesus and Mary take your hand and lead the way as you come to the holy table for the first time. May you never lack for daily bread and drink. May you always be fully fed on God’s love. May God bless you on this day and whenever you come to this holy table.
Dear First Eucharist Families,
The ACT government has announced an easing of restrictions effective as of 11:59pm Thursday 11 Nov. This means that we are now able to accommodate more people in the Church. We have therefore taken the decision to amalgamate the services next week and have only 1 service per day (as opposed to 2 per day). This service will be at 6pm on Thursday the 18th November for students at Mother Teresa School. If you have booked for the 7:15pm service, we will automatically transfer your booking to the 6pm service.
In more exciting news this also means that additional guests will be able to join in the celebration. We have had numerous requests for extra family to attend which is now possible. Additional seating will be in the hall area (apart from the main party) and will be on a first come basis (maximum capacity 350people).
This decision is welcomed by Fr Mark and Fr Thonn who this week have been conducting 2 services per day in addition to their regular Masses and undertakings.
We hope that this will not be an inconvenience and give many families who previously were unable to book in for the early session an opportunity to celebrate afterwards.
Peace and best wishes
Religious Education co-ordinator