From the Principal: Remote Learning/Lockdown

Thursday 27th May

Dear Parents and Carers

As most of you are aware, Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino, announced a 7 day lockdown of Victoria from midnight tonight until midnight Thursday June 3.

All Catholic schools will transition to remote and flexible learning from Monday 31 May. To assist with preparing for this, Friday 28 May will be a student-free day for all Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) schools. He also announced that if students can learn from home, they must learn from home for these 4 days, that is from Monday May 31 until Thursday June 3. We will begin the process of remote learning for the next 4 school days through a combination of Microsoft Teams meetings and information on class pages on MyPenola.

It is important that I reiterate from the outset of this communication that the safety of the Penola Community is our first priority in our decision making. I also wish to reiterate that we are aware that life has become challenging for many within our school community and that this Christ-centred school community wants to provide the best support and connection that we can achieve in these difficult times.

Penola Catholic College supports the Government’s position to provide educational supervision to the dependents of essential workers who cannot work from home and/or vulnerable students throughout the 7 day lockdown. These people play a critical role in the safety of our community.

If you believe your family is unable to facilitate remote learning due to being essential workers or for other specific reasons, could you please complete the following form, by clicking on the link below to register your child ASAP and no later than midday Sunday May 30 to enable us to plan appropriate supervision and support. Later requests will be considered, but we are trying to ascertain the level of current need for next week.

Click here to register your child for supervision at school

I must reiterate that for those students who come to school, Penola can provide supervision only, to support these students accessing the remote learning plan. The supervisors will not be actively engaged in teaching; the student’s regular teachers will do this remotely and will not be on campus. Students attending school will be required to wear masks whilst indoors. A member of the Leadership team or Wellbeing team will contact each family seeking supervision, to discuss your specific needs.

Once we ascertain the number of people seeking supervision, we will provide more information about what that will look like. I can let you know that supervision of these students will take place at the Senior Campus, 29 Gibson Street, Broadmeadows, as there is more space to ensure that students are socially isolating effectively. The Junior Campus will effectively be closed to all staff and students. In the interest of community safety we will be working to minimise the number of people who need to come on site at the Senior Campus which will mean that the gates will be closed and students will need to enter through reception.

There are a significant number of events that were planned for these days which will obviously not run. I have listed these below:

Year 10 Exams Friday May 28 – Friday June 4

Year 9 Reflection Day – Friday May 28 for 09REO110 (Ms Lucarelli’s Religion class) and 09REO106 (Ms Kangalis’ Religion class)

Year 9 City Experience – Monday May 31 – Friday June 4

Year 9 students will complete remote learning rather than City Experience next week.

It is highly unlikely that Year 10 Work Experience which was scheduled for Monday June 7 – Friday June 11 will go ahead but this will be confirmed next week. Our initial thoughts are that the Work Experience week will be used as time for the Year 10 Exams to take place provided we are back to school.

Year 11 Exams were initially scheduled for Thursday June 3 – Friday June 11 and these may go ahead depending upon whether we return to school at the end of the proposed lockdown but parents and students will be updated next week with regards to their exams.

At this stage the General Achievement Test for all VCE students studying at Units 3 & 4 level will remain scheduled for Wednesday June 9.

There were a small number of students who were absent today so these students only will have the opportunity to pick up their books, equipment and laptop on each of the respective campuses between 8.00a.m. and 10.00a.m. tomorrow, Friday May 28. They will need to report to reception to register that they are onsite.

As parents, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:

  • Talk to your children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe
  • Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.

These measures are aimed at giving health authorities the best opportunity to stop the spread of the virus in our community.

I hope and pray that all within our Penola Catholic College community remain safe and well.


Chris Caldow