We Are Prepared and Ready!

Just as we are beginning to enjoy a level of normalcy, including interstate travel, going to the football, attending big festivals and thinking that we might be back to normal in most respects, we are again bracing ourselves for the potential of further disruption and lockdowns due to the Coronavirus. The speed at which the latest outbreak in Melbourne has travelled has been phenomenal with over 15,000 primary and secondary contacts from one source which arrived in Melbourne just over three weeks ago from hotel quarantine in Adelaide. I really feel for Victorians who have been plunged into this circumstance in a space of a few days, but the magnitude of this super spread cannot be underestimated and I know most Victorians understand the necessity to take this drastic action.

What I cannot understand is that with over 12 months’ experience and the best minds in the medical field, we still cannot implement robust systems of quarantine to prevent breaches which lead to lockdowns and a huge burden to our communities. The failure of states and the Commonwealth to work together on a national strategy led by our Federal Government is somewhat puzzling.

What I have observed first-hand is the human cost. People now stressed about no income because they are casual employees, many living from pay packet to pay packet. Most are already living on the margins with bills that are mounting up. Small businesses that are just getting their heads above water, again shut down for the time being. Many feel that life is like one step forward and three steps back.

I have noticed a level of complacency in our own backyard. People not scanning QR codes as they enter a premises, people not using sanitiser when in public areas and maintaining hand hygiene at the highest standards. Social distancing is going by the wayside. These were the practices that kept us safe last year and continue to be critical if we are to be safe into the future. Nothing has changed. Wearing masks should be a common practice in crowded areas including the football. This is no big deal really, until we have our population fully vaccinated and further measures in place to lessen the impact of this dreadful virus, we need to be prepared to live with this for a few more years. This is complex and it will take time for the world to recover from this pandemic.

So for the time being, at Cardijn College we continue to be vigilant and ensure we are always ready to respond to the most extreme scenario which is a snap lockdown. We want our community to be safe and we want to make sure that no student is missing out on their learning. Will you help and do your part? Use the QR codes, remember hand hygiene, carry a mask and if necessary don’t be afraid to wear it. If you are not feeling well, have a cold or sniffles, stay home, get tested and be glad to receive a negative result. Let’s change the phrase “Here we go again” to “We are prepared and ready!

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.

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