What we have learned during COVID-19

Chris Ivey / Academic

s we welcome a number of year levels back

08 May 2020

What we have learned during COVID-19

As we welcome a number of year levels back to the College on Monday I have a strange sense of nostalgia, hoping we don’t lose some of what I have enjoyed and relished over the past few weeks. I confess, I have loved afternoon pick up! The 120 or so students who have been at school all make their way to the main entrance and for 5 or 10 minutes, we all stand around and chat without the cacophony of fast pick-ups, the parental pressure of getting a child to an appointment or training session, parents who have to drive around three times before their child arrives, or…struggling to find a parking space in the first place. It has been wonderful to get to know these students and parents a little more and to simply have the time to just be!

I have been reflecting on an email from a colleague, a Principal of a school in Hong Kong and I thought it would be worth sharing with you. As we entered the crisis more than a month ago and as a Christian, he wrote if there might be a deeper message to this crisis than simply one of health and economics.

“Perhaps God is angry with us at present and we have all been sent to our rooms for some time out and to think carefully about our actions!” In the joke of course lies a wonderful kernel of truth. That our capacity to subdue and have dominion over the earth is always tenuous and conditional. We are constantly guilty of hubris. When we reach the last page of the human ‘operating manual’ as we now have, it is the wonderful last blank page marked ‘faith’ that awaits us. Faith really is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I guess a virus is too small to be seen anyway…

In every longer conversation I have had over the past couple of weeks, we have turned to the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes remembering the tragedy of each death and the families affected, or the loneliness of isolation for those living alone, or those who are struggling financially, but eventually chatting about what we have personally and unexpectedly enjoyed in this period of lock down. 

As a College I have taken this idea as a challenge. There is much we have learned. We have been in regular contact one-on-one with our secondary students and have asked them about their experiences. Their feedback has been incredibly insightful! 

I have asked a small team to come together and review every aspect of what has happened over the past month or so, gather all the thoughts and reflections and ask, what do we want to keep?  It’s very much blue sky thinking but my rationale is; I don’t want us to simply switch off the past few months and revert back to what we have always done.

As parents, when you feel ready to reflect on the past two months, please let us know your thoughts, let us know what you think has worked well for you and your family. I have hope that humanity has reflected on our behaviour and earned our way ‘out of our room’, we mustn’t simply return to what we know. Of course in many ways, on a Global scale we may struggle with just how to sort this out, however in our corner here at St Andrew’s we hope to reflect wisely, and if possible capture some positive change. I look forward to walking this journey with you.

Reverend Chris Ivey

Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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