Welcome back to a new year and school term which has undoubtedly been very challenging for us all. As we start a new chapter in our lives together as a school community, we look forward to the positives of the year ahead even through these continued uncertain times. Pope Francis has dedicated a Year to St. Joseph. This announcement by the Vatican coincides with the 150th anniversary of the proclomation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on 8th December 1870. As a school dedicated to St. Joseph, we will be celebrating this special year with numerous events. Some suggestions of activities which you may want to do as a family include: meditation on the Our Father for at least 30 minutes; participation in a spiritual retreat of at least one day which includes a meditation on St. Joseph; performing a corporal or spiritual work of mercy; recitation of the Holy Rosary as a family or engaged couple; entrusting your activities every day to the protection of St. Joseph; invoking his intercession so that those seeking employment may find work and that all may have dignified work; recitation of the Litany of St. Joseph (for those belonging to the Latin tradition) or the Akathistos of St. Joseph - in whole or in part (for those belonging to the Byzantine tradition); or some other prayer to St. Joseph (for those belonging to other liturgical traditions) for the persecuted Church and for the relief of all Christians suffering all forms of persecution, and recitation of any legitimately approved prayer or act of piety in honour of St. Joseph, especially on these particular days: March 19, May 1, the feast of the Holy Family (December 27, this year), St. Joseph's Sunday (Byzantine tradition), the 19th day of each month, and every Wednesday. To read the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, please click on the following link: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html
We understand that some parents may feel frustrated with the announcement of the closure of schools and also in response to the letter circulated yesterday. However, we want to reinforce that as a school we are here to support the critical worker and vulnerable children during this national lockdown. We fully understand and appreciate that some parents are unable to work from home due to their role, as they may be working on the front line to combat the spread of Coronavirus. However, the latest Government guidance on restricting attendance in schools, states that: 'Parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.' We thank you for your positive feedback on how quickly the school was able to provide critical worker provision the morning after the evening announcement by the Prime Minister to close schools. My thanks go out to the tremendous effort undertaken by all Staff this week and also during 2020. If you are able to reduce your requested provision then please contact the school office so that the safety of staff and children can be maintained without having to implement a tier system. Thank you for your continued understanding and support during these challenging times.
A reminder that the activities and PowerPoints prepared for Remote Learning do not have to be printed. Simply use one exercise book for the children to record their responses in order to save time, paper and ink. The learning organised for children remotely will be the same as the sessions delivered by teachers in school. There is no expectation by the Government for schools to deliver 'live' lessons. As stated in the latest guidance, remote learning should include either recorded videos or live lessons. Teachers will create and upload videos to support the children with their remote learning each week, as well as deliver face-to-face sessions in school. The class email pages are in use once again, however, with staff teaching commitments in school as well as organising remote learning, feedback will be given once a week as in line with the latest Government guidance. Children at home will also be contacted once a week by a member of school staff.
The importance of children's mental and physical health is paramount during this new period of national lockdown. Our external provider, RB Gym and Sport, will continue to provide PE provision in school. Children in Key Stage 2 are allowed to come into school wearing their PE kit and tracksuit on Tuesdays, and Reception and KS1 on Thursdays. These sessions will be delivered by the same Sport Educators each week.
Click on the following link to the NHS website for information on what to do if you or your child/ren show the main symptoms of Coronavirus. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms
We have all experienced challenges and difficulties during this pandemic, but sometimes we may need support from someone else or know of someone who needs additional support. Dudley MBC have created a 'Support for Families' leaflet which signposts local services to parents. This is available within the Covid tab on the school website landing page. Please signpost this information to people who you know may need some additonal help.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
Children at St. Joseph's are growing to be: Grateful for their own gifts, for the gift of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and generous with their gifts, becoming men and women for others.
Intention for evangelization - Human fraternity
May the Lord give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions, praying for one another, open to all.