A welcome from the principal
It was the welcome that parents needed.
After weeks of mixed messages from governments about whether kids should be at school, parents at Holy Trinity in Curtin were delighted to receive a note from principal Philippa Brearley this week saying children were welcome.
“To see our principal standing stoically in the rain welcoming families on Wednesday morning was so reassuring for all of us,” Mum-of-two Andrea said.
“Hugo and Olivia were jumping out of their seats when they saw her.”
Curtin Mum-of-four Jane said she felt relief after weeks of confusion.
“It was a very emotional morning,” Jane said. “I feel relief that the school is happy to have us back and very lucky to be on the path back to normal life.”
Mum-of-three Colleen Norton said Year Six daughter Jess and Year Three son Dominic were keen to resume their school routine.
“The whole situation has been a bit anxiety-inducing for everyone,” Colleen said.
“It has been a grey area as parents had to decide whether to send their kids but it’s great that Catholic schools are open.”
Almost 100 of the school’s 362 students returned on Wednesday and Philippa expects that to grow.
“Some parents are feeling more confident about the statistics in Canberra, they see their kids are missing the social connections and believe it’s more beneficial for them to be at school,” she said.
The former St Clare’s student stressed that she did not want families or staff to feel judged for their decisions.
“Some parents sent me letters justifying they were essential workers but I have never made that a requirement,” Philippa said.
“There are many different reasons why kids are at school and I would never make any judgements about that.
“It has been confusing for everyone. And so difficult for staff. As Catholic educators we feel a great commitment to our students so it becomes a really difficult choice for staff.
“Some are working from home as they are caring for sick parents and of course that is understandable.”
Philippa took charge of the kinder class on Wednesday morning to release the teacher for other jobs.
“I am so proud of how hard the teachers have worked,” she said.
“We have flipped our teaching and the teachers have been amazing in how they have responded.
“All the executive team are taking classes to release teachers because their days are so full with face-to-face teaching, videoing themselves taking lessons and checking in with students at home.
“You can imagine the timetabling challenges.”