Tuesday 24 March 2020

Community COVID-19 update #3

I write to you again to provide the latest update. I understand that being inundated with College correspondence is not ideal, but as things are changing almost by the hour, I feel the need to keep you informed.

As you will have noticed, many parents in Western Australia are making the decision to keep their children at home. Today our student attendance at CBC was around 40%. Yesterday the direction from Catholic Education was that leave and/or options to work from home is offered to staff who have young children requiring care or staff who have pre-existing medical conditions that place them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. On Sunday, the Chief Medical Officer flagged that, despite his advice that schools remain open, tonight's National Cabinet meeting would consider such scenarios. Several staff at CBC Fremantle fall under either of those categories and have availed themselves of the offer.

The combination of a much-reduced student population and a reduced teaching staff has created the necessity for us to begin the transition to online learning by week's end. Iona and Santa Maria Colleges, where many of our families have their daughters, have already made similar decisions.  It is our hope that the single mode of lesson delivery will be better supported given the other complications. The College will remain open unless closed by the authorities and parents who wish to continue sending their sons to school should do so without any hesitation. I respect the rights of every parent to do what is best for their son and hope this view is shared by everyone else in the community. Boys attending school will also engage with the online learning and be supervised in what may be generic learning spaces that adhere to the social-distancing recommendations.

We understand how difficult these times will be for our families and in order to help us to help each other we have put together a Community Business Directory for the services offered by our people. CBC families, staff and alumni are invited to submit the details of their business, together with a logo and contact details, and the listing will be available on our website homepage under CBC Community. We urge you to support each other and celebrate our wonderful community even as we consider social isolation as a very real prospect. You can add your business details here.

Clearly, the current situation is unheralded. Communication and goodwill will be priceless, as will grace and calm. So far these are the only things that I have experienced from parents and staff and I hope that continues.

CBC Fremantle is a school that seeks to partner with parents to form outstanding young men of faith, good values and resilience. Maxims like 'the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire' have never been more apt.  We will come through this and when we do, I hope every member of our community can look back with pride on how we worked together. For the first time in a generation, probably since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the world is holding its breath. Mr Alweyn always tells me my anecdotes and stories are outdated, and perhaps many of you won't know how precarious that moment in history was, but I can tell you that a 45-year-old man resisted all the advice given by experts and, among all the mayhem, remained the calmest man in the room, probably saving civilisation as we know it. Be safe, make considered decisions and be the calmest person in the room.

Mr DomenicBurgio