Much of our news at the moment is the excellent trajectory of no newly reported COVID-19 cases and many who had tested positive reporting full recovery. In SA the State Government was considering three different models namely, elimination, suppression and control. They were planning on the suppression model but with our current trajectory our Premier is optimistic that elimination could be achieved.

If you are anything like me, you would hope that we can progress more quickly to lifting restrictions and getting back to normal. Is this possible? Going back to normal? As we begin thinking of life beyond COVID-19, I do not think we can go back to where we left off – in fact we will need to start with a “NEW NORMAL”. I will break my thinking down to three specific principles for the NEW NORMAL. First, this experience is a once in a lifetime experience, or is it? Up to now, yes it is. The magnitude of this pandemic and the effect on our world has been nothing short of catastrophic. It has affected every dimension of our human life, physically, social, mentally, economically and spiritually. In some places more so than in others. Yesterday I learnt that Adelaide was named as one of the safest places to be in the world in our time of COVID-19.

The first principle is that we lead our lives into the future with tremendous GRATITUDE. Above all, our lives are precious and if we treasure life for all it is, simplicity, in unity, in solidarity, as family, being present to each other and understanding that the dignity of every person is sacred and valued, then this must underpin our first step forward.

The second principle is one of RESILIENCE. We need to be resilient, and above all, build greater levels of resilience because the reality of uncertainty will be a feature of our future. Resilience means not having all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, so that if the basket is obsolete, we cannot function. As a school we have learnt our lesson. Face to face (F2F) teaching has been our bread and butter but if we cannot have access to F2F then you need to go with option B. As a school we will have several options into the future to ensure we are resilient and can respond and bounce back quickly.

The third principle (I am sure there could be several others) I propose is OPPORTUNITY. Whatever challenge we are presented with in the future we need to see as an opportunity. COVID-19, despite its effects, must be an opportunity for us as a society to reflect and ensure that we are even better prepared in the future. This is not just from a medical perspective but also from an economical and justice perspective. These unprecedented times have affected people differently and some are the poorer and other the richer. Either way it is incumbent on us to respond to the needs of our community, our nation and globally as a people.

The NEW NORMAL must have GRATITUDE, RESILIENCE and OPPORTUNITY as fundamental cornerstones. I realise that there could be many others but let us make this a starting point of our journey post-COVID-19. Our journey begins with gratitude, building our resilience to be prepared to make changes to what we have come to take for granted and seeking opportunity brought to us by the future.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

1 comment on “THE NEW NORMAL – Life post COVID-19

  1. Christine Morgan

    Well written Paul. I think for many of us we are richer in that we value the simple things in life more now than ever.
    Hopefully we will not lose sight of this.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: