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And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

– Hebrews 12:1-2

I love the South Coast of NSW. Since before I was born my family has been going to the same coastal village. Just off the coast is an island, and just off the island is a reef break I love to surf. The island is attached to the coast by a tombolo, a bar or spit made of sand and gravel/rocks. Sometimes you can walk across to the island on sand, sometimes across rocks. At high tide, you need to swim or paddle. Last year, a rescue helicopter plucked from the island a couple trapped by the incoming tide.

Walking across the rocks often depends on the skill of the walker. At times it depends on the tide and the swell. This year feels a lot like walking across rocks on a turning tide. There have been times when it hasn’t felt that tricky, and other times when it has felt impossible.

One of my endearing memories of walking back from the island with (then) three young kids was the help of a friend whose walk coincided with ours. He piggybacked my youngest across the rocks through the rising tide. What was difficult became easier with his help.

At NBCS we do not presume to have expertise in health matters, but we do have expertise in education, wellbeing and community. In these areas we continue to offer our expertise in a year beyond our shared experience. In uncertainty, we have worked hard to bring consistency, connection, and a sense of stability in the ebb and flow of surging tidal forces.

Term 3 & COVID-19

We don’t know what Term 3 will bring. We do know that we need to be ready to respond to a changing environment. I am heartened that in Victoria, Year 11 and 12 students have been able to remain at school. Our plan is for all students to keep learning face to face, until we are advised otherwise. If there is a return to remote learning in NSW, I would be keen to have Years K-4 and Years 11-12 at school if possible. Our preference, of course, is to have all students at school.

Any students who wish to wear a mask to school should feel comfortable to do so. Again, we await further health and government advice regarding this in NSW.

I note that there has been some confusion about self-isolation, and after reading the NSW Health advice, I can understand the confusion. If a person has a COVID-19 test, they must remain in self-isolation until they receive a negative test result. However, if a person has had close contact (15 minutes face to face or an hour in the same room as someone with COVID-19), they are required to self-isolate for 14 days irrespective of whether they are tested and receive negative results within the 14 day period.

If a student or staff member has close contact with someone with COVID-19, we require, as per guidelines, that they self-isolate for 14 days.

If a student or staff member has a COVID-19 test (without having been a close contact as above), they should self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

Holiday Workshops

During the term break, the support provided by teaching staff to our Year 12 students was remarkable. Across the break, more than 40 workshops were conducted to help students prepare for the Trial HSC examinations starting in Week 3. I am immensely grateful to the staff who spent time in the break working with our students, and proud of the number of students who took up the opportunity provided to them.

Preparing Students

We are very keen to create a low stress, high performance environment for all students at NBCS. The preparation, collaboration, and feedback of the holiday workshops as well as that in our regular learning sessions is a key part of making this happen. Our aim, as always, is to work with our students to enable them to bring out their best. We help prepare them for a bigger future through developing the skills, character, effort and learning that are necessary for them to make their way in the world. This preparation is therefore about so much more than marks, and I am grateful to teachers and students alike for the way they learn together.

Tim Watson