Dear Parents and Carers,
The fact that we are already in Week 2 of Term 4 is not lost on me. As I reflect on the happenings in the past week, the year has certainly taken on a different direction to what we were hoping and planning for. The move to online learning has been smooth, yet challenging for all involved. I commend those parents who have balanced home life, work life and trying to support their children with online schooling. That is a lot of hats to be wearing all at once. Thank you for all you are doing!
The teachers at St Benedict’s continue to plan for the weeks ahead, both for online learning and when we can welcome students back to face-to-face learning in a few weeks (we are all very much looking forward to that!!). Our plan when the students return to face to face learning is to prioritise the consolidation of learning undertaken during remote times and ensure that students are well placed to end the year in a strong and positive way and are prepared for the 2022 school year. Again, we thank you all for your ongoing support. What a fabulous community we are lucky enough to be a part of! I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Mrs Belinda McRae finished up at the end of last term and once lockdown has finished and students have returned to school we will take the opportunity to farewell her. Following interviews in the holidays, we have employed Mrs Catherine Hemphill to be our office manager going forward. Catherine is very experienced and comes from St Joseph's ELC O'Connor. Catherine will begin at St Benedict's on Monday 25th October, when all the staff return to school. I know you will join with me in welcoming Catherine to our staff.
Return to School
As circulated last week, K,1,2 & 6 will return to school on Monday 25 October and Years 3,4 & 5 will return on Monday 1 November. We are all looking toward these dates with hope, optimism and a small amount of trepidation. The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is the primary consideration of any decision related to re-opening schools. St Benedict’s School follows various COVID-19 Safe requirements as advised by ACT Health which seek to prevent and minimise the transmission of COVID-19.
These requirements are designed to:
- minimise unnecessary physical interaction between students on school grounds;
- ensure that students learn only with those in their cohort, wherever possible;
- minimise opportunities for transmission and enhance contact tracing; and,
- minimise the potential for widespread infection across the school and wider school community.
Health and safety measures will be in place at St Benedict’s to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including:
- encouraging vaccination of eligible students, staff and families,
- mandatory use of the Check In CBR app for all adults,
- ensuring fresh air ventilation is optimised in all settings,
- physical distancing measures for adults, and
- mandatory mask wearing for staff and essential visitors. The wearing of masks for primary students is at the discretion of the student and their parent/carer. However it is not recommended for children for Kindergarten to Year 2. This is because masks are unlikely to be correctly worn by very young children and may represent a choking hazard.
Other measures in place will include limiting the mingling of classes and year groups, increased use of outdoor spaces, limitation of on-site visitors to essential visitors only, environmental cleaning and high vigilance around not allowing anyone with symptoms of illness to attend. More information about this will be forwarded to families next week.
The approach being taken is informed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice for minimising COVID-19 transmission in schools and the Chief Health Officer’s Health Guidelines for Schools and Early Childhood Education Services (including out of school hours care).
All our school staff have been encouraged to be vaccinated, and I can advise that many of our staff are vaccinated or are in the process of doing so. Due to Australian privacy law requirements, we are unable to advise the vaccination status of individuals or school staff.
There will be some challenges in relation to drop off and pick up, Term 4 scheduled events, access to school grounds by parents and carers as well as some other areas. Rest assured that the school staff are exploring all reasonable options whilst ensuring that they fit within ACT guidelines.
Again, I sincerely thank all our school staff, parents, families and carers. I know this has been challenging for all of you, and I thank you for your patience and resilience. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email if I can be of any assistance.
Stay safe and healthy.
Please be advised that, due to COVID restrictions and our current lockdown, the scheduled Junior Primary swimming program cannot go ahead. We will adjust the school fees accordingly.
Year 5/6 Camp
Due to COVID restrictions the planned Yr 5/6 camp experience to Greenhills Centre has had to be cancelled. All money paid by parents will be credited towards your child's Term 4 fees. If you have any questions, please contact the Front Office.
It is customary for our students to begin Term 4 by wearing their summer uniform. It is expected that all students will commence back at school beginning the 25th October with their full summer uniform.
2022 Kinder Orientation and End of Year Functions
We continue to monitor and follow the latest health advice provided to us from Catholic Education and the ACT Department of Education in regard to end of year award ceremonies and functions. As you can imagine, this is an ever-evolving thing and will be very dependent on the end of lockdown and what it brings with it.
Leaving St Benedict’s
If you anticipate that, your child will leave St Benedict’s at the end of this year, could you please notify the Front Office. We need to begin planning for staffing and class configurations for 2022. Thank you to those who have let us know already, this is very much appreciated. Naturally Year 6 parents need not respond to this request.
Global Schools Partnership Day 20th October
Next Wednesday, our school community will celebrate a virtual Global Schools Partnership Day to raise awareness and money for our partner school, Gesore
Preparatory in Kenya. All classes will engage in a range of activities to explore African culture, schooling, and the rights of a child. These activities will be shared with your child by their teacher. On this day we encourage all students to wear the colours of the Kenyan flag or traditional African clothing with bright and bold patterning.
Global School Partners facilitates partnerships between schools in Australia and schools in developing nations to enable students from across the globe to connect, share and learn with one another. We have been partnered with Gesore Preparatory for a few years now and we seek to continue to nurture this relationship through pen-pal writing, education, cultural and fundraising days. For more information please visit https://www.globalschoolpartners.org.au/
Donations made by families are tax deductible. When making a donation on their website please place in the comments section of the donation form ‘GESORE’ or ‘ST
BENEDICTS’, this will ensure that your donation goes directly to our partner school. https://www.globalschoolpartners.org.au/online-donations
If families choose to do a direct deposit into the GSP bank account https://www.globalschoolpartners.org.au/donate we ask that you email email@example.com so that a receipt can be issued, and the funds allocated to Gesore Preparatory.
We encourage all our families to take part in our St Benedict’s School Global Partnerships Day.
Thank you for your support.
Livestreamed Online Masses
St Christopher’s Cathedral
12.15pm Monday to Saturday masses and the 11am Sunday mass Link: https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online
St Benedict’s Parish livestreamed online Masses- please visit the parish website and Facebook page.
While our churches are closed, Archbishop Christopher would like to invite all to pray the Rosary via Zoom today at 4 pm.
All you need are your Rosary beads and your intentions.
TIME: Every Wednesday and Friday at 4 pm sharp!
(Archbishop Christopher will lead us today in the Glorious Mysteries)
ZOOM DETAILS: Simply click on the link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85022458332?pwd=MDZ4ODFhNjIvdnpFd21aVDQzWnAydz09
Or enter in the details below after opening the Zoom app
Meeting ID: 850 2245 8332 Passcode: 543675
What is Roblox?
You can either use Roblox to create games or play games that other users have created. Roblox has a PEGI rating of 7+ BUT as a lot of the content is user generated, which PEGI does not rate, these games may not be suitable for your child to view/play.
What should I be aware of?
Chat Facility - Players can chat to each other on Roblox. You can add parental controls to turn this feature off completely or add restrictions.
Virtual Currency - Players can buy Robux (their virtual currency) to buy in-game upgrades or accessories. If you do not want your child to purchase them, then ensure your card details are not saved.
What should I do?
• Play the game with your child.
• Explore the parental controls within Roblox and set appropriately for your child (for example restrict access to age-appropriate games).
• Show your child how to use the Report Abuse system within Roblox to report inappropriate content and how to block other users.
So your kids are using Tik Tok
(from ‘Safe on Social’)
As you have probably heard before, Tik Tok has numerous risks. We are firm believers in adhering to the age recommendation guidelines of 13yrs+ for social media. However, that said, it is not against any law for a child to use under the age of 13yrs with parental permission.
If you have decided that you are okay with your child using TikTok, here is what to do and what to look out for to make it as safe as possible.
Make sure they are not being moved from another social media site or game onto Tik Tok by someone that they don’t know
This is a big one that we hear about far too often. Particularly for kids under 13yrs, but it may happen to older teens also. They make “friends” on games such as Roblox. Their new “friend” suggests that they connect on TikTok. Once they are both following each other, they can message each other for free. This includes sharing videos. This can become every parent’s worst nightmare in the blink of an eye.
If they are under the age of 13yrs, set the app up with your email address.
Set it up on your device so you have full access to it at all times and can see who is following them and who they are following. Make sure you set up notifications so you will be emailed with any messages that come through the app. Think of it as putting on training wheels. Monitoring your child’s online life under the age of 13yrs is extremely important. As they get older, you can lift the monitoring in line with their online maturity.
Set their profile to private
While they are too young to always make good choices, as they get older, you can lift this, especially when they know what is right and wrong online and how to block and report if things get weird. Make sure they are only connected to people that they know and are following legitimate sites.
Look for the verification symbol
There is a verification symbol on all social media sites that proves it is the actual verified celebrity or group. There will be a little blue circle with a white tick in it next to the name. No tick, no follow. Predators can set up fraudulent accounts that may have a small spelling mistake or a similar version of a celebrity name.
Encourage them to speak up
Kids need to understand that an adult can help when they know what is going on and can help them.
Know how to block and report
This should be the case for every app that they use. You should always know the basics and spend some time looking at how it all works before letting your child use it.
What are they looking at?
You may never know what they see, and there is a lot of graphic content, porn, and other inappropriate content on TikTok. Make sure they know to get off the app immediately if they see something that makes them feel uncomfortable or worried.
Know how to take a screenshot
In case you need it as evidence. This is a great tool to teach kids as young as possible.
No videos on TikTok in school uniform
Or anything else that gives away too much personal information is critical. Remember, a school’s reputation can be destroyed in a heartbeat with kids posting videos on TikTok of them misbehaving someway. It is also a privacy risk; your child could be telling the whole world where they go to school.
Don’t give away any personal information.
Use a fake user name like “popcorn fairy” or something. Teach your kids never to give away things like name, address, age, phone number, where they go to school, etc.
Watch out for what is in the background
It is easy for people to determine a location, take a screenshot, and zoom in on a certificate on the wall.
Turn off location tracking
In your device settings, turn location tracking off for TikTok completely.
Set time limits
Be very clear about how long they can be on TikTok for, or they can be watching all kinds of stuff for hours!
Use a strong password
Do not use the same password on TikTok that they do for everything else.
Beware of bullying
There is a lot of bullying on the platform as kids judge each other’s videos etc. Remember, being mean once isn’t bullying.
If bullying is occurring
Make sure your child knows not to respond
Take screenshots or screen record
Block and report the bully to the app
Support your child
If the bullying continues, please refer to our cheat sheet on cyberbullying to report it.
Important dates to note for this term are:
25th October - Kindergarten, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6 Students to School
26th October - Kindergarten Information Evening (Online) 6.00pm-7.00pm
29th October - Day for Daniel
1st November - Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 Students Return to School
- All Saints Day
2nd November - All Souls Day
- Melbourne Cup Day
3rd November - Kindy Orientation Day 1 (TBC) 9am-11am
5th November - St Clare's College Try a Day (TBC) All day
9th November - School Board Meeting (virtual) 6.00pm-7.00pm
11th November - Remembrance Day
16th November - P & F Meeting (Online) 6.30pm - 7.30pm
17th November - Kindy Orientation Day 2 (TBC) 9am - 11am
2nd December - Learning Showcase (TBC) 2.00pm - 4.00pm
3rd December - Reports Home
- Mini Vinnies Giving Mass (TBC) 10.00am -11.00am
6th December - Optional Parent/Teacher Interview (Online)
- School Board (virtual) 6.00pm-7.00pm
10th December - Ways of Being Awards Assembly (TBC) 2.15pm-3.10pm
15th December - End of Year and Graduation Mass - Year 5/6Blue & 5/6 Gold (TBC) 10.00am-11.00am
- Year 6 Graduation (TBC) 6.00pm-9.00pm
17th December - Last Day of Term 4
St Benedict's Parish
Fr Rembert Fernando MGL
Fr Baiju Thomas MGL
Onela Iruthayaraj (Parish Secretary)
For the extent of the lockdowns, the Archbishop invites all to pray the Rosary as a community via Zoom each Wednesday and Friday at 4pm.
Zoom details: Simply click on the link Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Rosary. Or enter in the details below after opening the:
Zoom app Meeting ID: 850 2245 8332
Passcode: 5436 755 43675
The 12.15pm Monday to Saturday masses and the 11am Sunday mass at St Christopher's Cathedral will continue to be livestreamed as normal at the following link:
Online parish mass link: