Happy holiday and Term 4 Ventilation!

Dear families and staff

The end of term is here and next term we look forward to welcoming back the girls from Week 4. We are also so pleased we will be able to run both the Year 12 Farewell & Prizegiving and the Valedictory dinner, two very important events that we had to postpone this term.

A huge thank you to everyone for making this term as good as it could be given the difficult circumstances.  It is hard on everyone when we can’t be together in person, but I am grateful to our teachers and support staff for keeping the girls’ education and school systems on track.  A special thank you to our parent Tim Shorter from Fame Trivia Company for the weekly quiz, which I know has been a bright spot for so many families.

As we turn our attention to Term 4, we are very much looking forward to the return of everyone, including our gorgeous Year 12, who still haven’t left 😊. We have been reviewing our COVID safety plan in anticipation!  We are also finalising our ventilation plan, looking at all the ways we can make the air in classrooms and offices as fresh as possible.  Research indicates that this is one of the most important things a school can do to help stop the spread of COVID.  I heard the atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather on Radio National recently, who likened the airborne transmission of COVID aerosols to that from exhaled cigarette smoke. This is a useful image for us to keep in mind as we look at the measures we can put in place to reduce aerosol transmission. Our first line of defence will be masks, and the government had already mandated that all students and staff must wear these (K-6 will also be strongly encouraged to). We have St Catherine’s branded masks ready for all students and staff as a welcome back gift! Of course, everyone is welcome to wear their own masks if they prefer.  Over the break we are also doing the following:

  • checking that all classroom and office windows can open to ensure fresh air circulates. Opening windows will become part of our maintenance team’s early morning schedule.
  • We already have a filter maintenance and replacement schedule for our air conditioners, but we are upgrading our filters to higher efficiency ratings where possible.
  • We are currently researching air purifiers to see what is best for a classroom environment.
  • We are also sourcing CO2 monitors for classrooms and offices, which will enable everyone to check the general levels of ventilation in a room. As we did last year, we will also encourage teachers to take classes outside where possible.

We are making sure we do everything we can to make the school environment as safe as possible for everyone’s return. In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely holiday as we look forward to the grand opening of Term 4

Dr Julie Townsend

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