Announcement, 8 July 2020

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope this email finds you and your family well, and you are able to enjoy the School holidays in these difficult times.

As you would know, the Victorian Premier announced yesterday that metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will return to Stage 3 restrictions from 11.59pm this evening, Wednesday 8 July 2020. Current advice is that these restrictions will apply for six weeks. You can read the Premier’s media statement here.

The School acknowledges the gravity of the current COVID-19 crisis affecting Victoria. The health and wellbeing of members of the School community, and those beyond, remain our highest concern. Therefore, we will continue to operate in line with the advice and direction of the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

The implications of these changed circumstances on the operations of Melbourne Grammar School students and families are as follows:

Return to classes will commence on Tuesday 14 July
Students in Years 11 and 12 will return to classes on campus on Tuesday 14 July, with all other year levels participating in off-campus learning from Wednesday 15 July.

While the Premier announced that government schools would have an extended period of school holidays, Melbourne Grammar students will begin their Term III classes, as outlined above.

Teachers will be involved in a Staff Planning Day on Monday 13 July 2020, as planned.

Year 11 and 12 students
Students in Years 11 and 12 will continue with on-campus learning on the same basis as occurred in the final few weeks of Term II. These students will be expected on campus on Tuesday 14 July unless they are unable to do so due to, for example:

  • being unwell, particularly if they have COVID-19 symptoms
  • having had recent contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
  • they are unable to return to Victoria.

All students returning to campus should review the School’s COVID-19 Return to School Self-Assessment and adhere to these instructions.

All other students – Prep to Year 10
All other Melbourne Grammar School students will participate in off-campus learning, from Wednesday 15 July, on the same basis that was employed during Term II. This means that students will not physically attend their normal campus, but will participate in their learning program at home.

Heads of Campus will provide further details about specific arrangements for all students later this week.

Boarding Houses
The Boarding Houses will re-open on Monday 13 July for students in Years 11 and 12. Boarders in other year levels will participate in off-campus learning.

Co-curricular activities
In line with the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, certain co-curricular activities are postponed until further notice. This includes APS sport and outdoor education. Instrumental music lessons will continue online for students from Prep to Year 10, with either online or on-campus learning for students in Years 11 and 12. Further updates will be provided when the situation becomes clearer.

Support for parents and students
We recognise the importance of providing adequate and appropriate learning support for our students and parents. We received many messages from parents and students expressing their admiration and thanks for the hard work and dedication of our classroom teachers last Term. Of course, our teachers will continue to deliver the very best learning program they are able to under these circumstances.

We are also very mindful of the mental health issues that social isolation may bring for all family members. Classroom teachers and House Tutors remain an important support pillar for students and they should be the first point of contact should you have any concerns. Our Heads of House, Counsellors and Chaplains are also freely available.

You will also find helpful resources throughout this Resource Hub which houses a collection of helpful materials for parents, with additional resources to come. It includes contact details for our Counselling Service, and for services which can provide support if you need extra help.

Additional support for medical and emergency services personnel and Children at Risk
Recognising the vital role that medical professionals and emergency services personnel play in combatting the current health crisis and caring for us all, the School will continue to provide on-campus supervision for children of parents in these roles.

If you are a healthcare provider, work in the emergency services or are a carer of a Child at Risk, and need on campus supervision for your child, please contact your Head of Campus:

  • For Grimwade House students (Prep – Year 6), please complete the application form here, and contact the Head of Grimwade House, Royce Helm rahelm@mgs.vic.edu.au for further information
  • For Wadhurst students (Years 7 & 8), please contact Greg Caldwell, Head of Wadhurst gjcaldwell@mgs.vic.edu.au
  • For Senior School students (Years 9 – 12), please contact Ben Hanisch, Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School bphanisch@mgs.vic.edu.au

The service will be available during normal school hours. It will operate according to the advice provided by the Victorian Department of Health. I thank our staff involved in providing this important service.

Duration of these adjusted School operations
At this stage, it is unclear precisely how long these arrangements will need to be in place. There are a range of issues to be considered, including the Chief Health Officer’s advice, occupational health and safety legislation, and relevant Education and Training Acts and Regulations. The School Campus Heads and I will provide you with updates about any significant developments.

School Fees
Parents were sent an advice letter regarding Term III Fees yesterday, literally hours before the Premier made this sudden announcement, of which the School had no forewarning. Dispatch of Fee statements to parents is therefore being withheld until Council has had an opportunity to properly review the current situation and its implications. We will keep you well informed.

Thank you
There is no doubt that we are all facing significant challenges. However, with patience, care for ourselves and each other, and an optimistic attitude, I believe our students and our community will emerge from this crisis proud of the way we dealt with it.

I thank you for your patience and understanding in these difficult times.

With my warmest wishes,

Philip Grutzner
Headmaster