This pandemic has been incredibly trying and despite all of the challenges, we have been able to do some really incredible things, thanks to the hard work of our staff and resilience of our learners and students. We would like to celebrate this hard work that has sustained us and has taken us smoothly into unknown territories and new ways of being.
At the commencement of lockdown, we began the process of adjusting to online learning. This was a major challenge as a large number of our learners come from incredibly disadvantaged backgrounds and so do not have readily available access to the internet. Our staff and teachers quickly came up with a solution where our learners could continue with their learning through WhatsApp, GoogleDrive or learner packs that were delivered to them. Our staff then returned to work and on the 8th of June, so to did our learners, requiring a further adjustment from our teachers which they fully embraced. They had to learn how to teach while ensuring everyone was staying safe and they also had to learn how to deal with new trauma that has affected our learners during lockdown. The new rules around keeping safe at school which include temperature checks, sanitisation, social distancing and mask wearing were all introduced through a routine so as not to further overwhelm the students. We are so grateful to the parents for the trust they have put in our staff, to keep their children safe.
We would also like to celebrate our maintenance staff who have gone above and beyond in making sure we are operating in a safe schooling and working environment. They come in early in the morning to sanitise all classrooms and offices, which are also cleaned during breaks and deep cleaned at the end of each day fully sanitising all desks, chairs, doors, door handles, office equipment and floors. On top of this, they come in on Saturdays to do an additional deep clean of all the facilities.
Finally, we would like to celebrate our partners who have walked alongside us during this incredibly difficult time. Many of the individuals making up this organisation have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic. As a means to combat this, we have done all we can to ensure they are able to thrive in this space. Warren, our wellbeing manager, organised online counselling, various companies donated food parcels to help feed our FET students whose stipends were stopped or reduced as a result of the financial strain that arose from the pandemic. Various companies also donated laptops for our FET students to use, allowing them to complete their work to the standard which they would like, to name a few examples.