Principal hopes for year 12s to experience their final days on campus

By Andrew Johnston

FOR school leavers, every day brings something special.

In their final months as a student, there are a number of major events the teenagers will never experience again.

But amid the COVID-19 crisis, many of these crucial schooling moments are on the brink of being lost to our school leavers.

St Joseph's College principal Michael Delaney can only sit back and hope things change in coming week for his students.

“Year 12 students would also dearly love to conclude their secondary schooling in the company of the students who have travelled with them over the last six years,” he said.

“Already they have missed out on properly celebrating significant ‘lasts’; last house athletics, last cross country, those kind of events.

“Schools everywhere are grappling with how to properly celebrate graduation if COVID restrictions are still very tight as the school year concludes.

“Will we be able to have that last whole school assembly, graduation mass and dinner, or will gatherings still be very limited in number?”

Mr Delaney said with exams approaching, year 12s were also suffering in the classroom.

“Year 12 students need the reassurance of face-to-face teaching as they start to wrap up courses and begin exam preparation,” he said.

Though he is desperate to see his students back in the classroom for the final days of schooling, Mr Delaney is the first to admit there are serious challenges ahead for his school should students be allowed to return.

“The biggest challenge in returning to face-to-face learning is managing the healthy distancing and extra cleaning requirements,” he said.

“Students and teachers soon settle back into the classroom routine. However, keeping teenagers distanced, especially when they haven’t seen each other for weeks, is a real challenge, as is maintaining distancing between staff.

“Conducting year 12 exams safely is going to be a unique challenge.”

But for the final days of a lifetime in school, it's a challenge they are more than willing to take on.


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