Principal's Update - 31st May 2022
Staffing During The Current Situation
The impacts of COVID-19 and the influenza virus strain continue to present challenges in the continuing day to day operations of our school.
St Columba’s wishes to recognise the efforts of our staff, students and families in managing the difficult situation we continue to be faced with. Like many other industries around the country, we are experiencing critical staff shortages and increasing levels of burnout. Staff continue to go above and beyond to ensure we remain open and provide some level of consistency for our students, as well as providing opportunities such as excursions and sporting events.
As we approach the middle of Term Two, we are finding it increasingly more challenging to maintain classes with the high number of absences amongst staff and students. Across the industry, this is becoming the norm, with schools struggling to find relief teachers to cover absences. Whilst education is not unique in this challenge, and numerous measures have been explored to support this, it is beginning to wear on staff and students. There is a growing level of uncertainty each day around what it will look like and our capacity to provide a safe environment.
At this stage, we are getting through; however, we are sending this letter today to prepare families for the reality that we are likely to need to put other practices in place to continue functioning. Currently, communities are typically running one teacher and support staff down most days and whilst we are remaining open, this is not conducive to quality learning. Moving forward, we may need to explore the option of rolling remote learning like a number of other schools have already instigated. If this becomes a necessity, we will provide families with as much advance notice as possible and clarity around how things will operate.
We are hopeful that over time, the impact of the pandemic and the current influenza outbreak will diminish, and we can return to a level of normality and consistency that our students, staff and families need.
We thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.
Bambi Afford & Shaun Mohr