Mercurius issue 13 – October 2021 - 18 Oct 2021
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers, 

As we come to the end of our final week of learning from home, I would again like to thank our parents for supporting our Fortians and the school throughout this unusual time and congratulate our students once again for showing resilience and continuing to strive to achieve their best under difficult circumstances. Thank you to all our wonderful staff for their hard work and their dedication to our students.  

Next week on Monday 25 October all students from years 7-11 will return to school. The best learning environment for students is in the classroom and we are looking forward to welcoming back our staff and students to their classrooms. We know that while there will be excitement, there will also be some uncertainty about being back together at school. 

We have been working on our COVID-safe plan to return to school and have put in place effective practices; vaccinations for staff on site, mask wearing, reduced mingling of staff and student groups, ventilation in classrooms and continued good hygiene and cleaning. We are confident that this, in combination with support from our school community, will minimise risk and help to keep students learning face-to-face next to their peers.  

All students will receive an invitation to an online (virtual) year assembly this Friday where we will discuss the return to face-to-face learning plan including: 

  • changes to the daily timetable and breaktimes to allow for staggered starts and finishes as well as separate break times for different stages. 
  • Designated areas for different year groups during breaks 
  • Access to the library and oval 
  • Mask wearing 
  • Changes to sport program (inter-school and off campus sporting activities have all been cancelled for this term) 

An email will be sent home to all Parents this week with changes to bell times and further information regarding staggered start and finish times for the return to school.  

For those families who have siblings across year groups I know it will be difficult to have different start and finish school times but it is important for the school to try to minimise the interaction between year groups arrival and departures and in particular large groups congregating at the train station. 

What happens if there is a COVID-19 case at school? 

We have COVID-safe plans in place and are taking precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on-site. This includes enhanced cleaning two times a day in line with the latest advice from NSW Health and SafeWork Australia. 

Contact tracing 

NSW Health will notify the school if there is a positive COVID-19 case who has been infectious while at school and the school will in turn notify parents and carers. Contact tracing will be undertaken as it is in all other venues. The action we take in relation to the operation of the school will depend on how many people the person has been in contact with. In some cases, this may mean that the school may need to be made temporarily non-operational. Some staff and students may be asked to self-isolate as a precaution while contact tracing is completed. 

Self-isolation 

NSW Health have made changes to self-isolation requirements for people who are identified as close contacts who are fully vaccinated. 

  • Close contacts who are fully vaccinated must self-isolate for 7 days (and limit their movements for the next 7 days). Close contacts who are not vaccinated must isolate for 14 days. 
  • Casual contacts need to get tested and self-isolate until they get a negative test result – even if they are vaccinated. 

A reminder that anyone who has the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they get a negative result – even if they‘re vaccinated. 

Vaccination requirements for staff and students 

From 18 October all staff onsite will to be fully vaccinated. You can have confidence that we are handling the evidence requirements with the department and anyone interacting directly with your students will be fully vaccinated.  

COVID-19 vaccination is the best protection against severe illness and also reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 now will help to protect both you, your family and our school community. 

NSW Health are urging all students 12 and over to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible before returning to school. 

There is currently sufficient supply of the Moderna vaccine to community pharmacies and the Pfizer vaccine to General Practitioners. Bookings can be made via the Vaccine Clinic Finder. Depending on location, bookings are available within the next few days. 

Mask requirements 

To reflect the changes in community settings mask wearing requirements have been updated for schools. 

Students and staff will be expected to wear masks in all indoor settings at all times. 

Students will be required to provide their own masks each day and we would encourage them to use reusable masks rather than disposable masks. Reusable masks should be washed every day and disposable masks should be thrown away at the end of each day. The online uniform shop is now selling navy and maroon masks with the Fort Street logo for $8 each if you are interested in purchasing these via the school website. 

Masks are mandatory on public transport. This applies to students aged 13 years and over, and to staff when travelling to and from school and during school excursions by public transport or by chartered or private transport services.  

Congratulations 

The newly elected SRC held a virtual camp last week on Thursday and Friday at which the new SRC President and Vice President were elected. I would like to congratulate our new President of the 2021-2022 SRC – Alyssa Khaw and our new Vice President – Chantelle Hoang. I know that together they will lead the SRC to do fantastic work for the remainder of Term 4, 2021 and throughout 2022. 

NAPLAN results 

The school has received these packages and they will be distributed to students when they return to school next week. 

HSC student advice 

It has been lovely to see so many Year 12 students at school over the past 3 weeks.  I know that there are questions around graduation and other celebrations. The advice is still that we cannot plan for any event that occurs before 3 December. When we have further advice, we will advise. In the meantime, we will be planning for Year 12 students at least to celebrate in some way at school on Friday 3 December 

Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate Year 12 students on site for the last two weeks before the HSC exams commence (25 October – 9 November) as the traditional two breaks during the day have been extended to four breaks to reduce mingling between cohorts. It will be safest for Year 12 students to study from home during those two weeks and to continue to access their teachers online. 

Every Year 12 student should have received an individual examination timetable for the HSC with rooming advice. Mr Morrison has also emailed all students and parents the COVID-safe exam plan including the contingency venue in case of a temporary site closure. If you have not yet received this email, please contact Mr Morrison. 

Wellbeing resources for students and families 

Please take some time to check out our wellbeing resources for students and families. You’ll find useful tools for mental health and wellbeing. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can do anything to help you and your children to prepare for the return to face-to-face learning or if you have any concerns about the return to school. 

Thank you again for your continued support during what has already been a fast-moving school term. 

 

Juliette McMurray

 

Year 7 Orientation Day

Year 7 Orientation Day

Fort Street HS will hold an Orientation Day for Year 7 (2022) on Tuesday 23 November, in line with Year 6 Orientation Day for all secondary schools.
This is a student only event  and will be held for two hours in the morning.
More details will be available soon and will be advertised on the school website.
SPECIAL REPORT: Transitioning Back

SPECIAL REPORT: Transitioning Back

As lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted to varying degrees, we are entering a time of transition and adjustment. The circumstances of this situation have significantly impacted us all. For some it has been an opportunity to reflect on what is important, whilst others have embraced the opportunity to learn new things.

Many young people may be excited at the prospect of restrictions being lifted, whilst others may be feeling mixed emotions. Reactions will differ depending on how well they cope with stress and change. Keeping a check on your child’s mental health and wellbeing as they adjust to new routines, will be vitally important.

There is still a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, so focusing on the things you can control or enjoy doing, can help establish predictability and familiarity for the whole family. Adult carers need to provide young people with reassurance by acknowledging any concerns and fears they may have at this time. Consider this to be a normal reaction, however it may be best to focus more on their feelings and emotions, rather than the practicalities at this stage.

In this Special Report, we share a few ideas about how to help ease this time of transition. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback.

If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the school for further information or seek medical or professional help.

Here is the link to your special report https://bit.ly/3v50U2B

Student Representative Council update

Student Representative Council update

Dear Fort Street Community,

The first rays of freedom are about to light up the dawn of a “new normal, post Delta variant” life. After a period of lengthy COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we are once again faced with anticipation for travel to resume, hairdressers to open and most importantly for schools to return to face-to-face learning later in Term 4.

For many students, these school holidays have probably been quite dull and uneventful compared to past ones. Being at home all day certainly occasions some level of stress, boredom and anxiety. Over this period of involuntary separation, the SRC has continued to look at strategies to keep our school community connected.

This update will report on recent achievements and be the final update from the current SRC team before the newly elected members are sworn-in in Term 4.

Fort Street Future Leaders Week
You may be aware of the inaugural Fort Street Future Leaders week which was held in Week 7 Term 3. The event aimed to provide leadership and motivation training to students, with a view to promote and foster leadership initiatives in our school and beyond. The online event involved the Year 11 SRC Executive members who conducted individual interviews with various special guests including, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG (Fortian 1955, former Justice of the High Court of Australia), Hon Tanya Plibersek MP (former Deputy Leader of the Labor Party), Chris Gambian (CEO Nature Conservation Council NSW), Natalie Lang (Branch Secretary of the Australian Services Union NSW and ACT), and Erin O’ Leary (young activist and co-founder of Youth Against Sexual Violence).

These interviews may be accessed via the following YouTube playlist link: Leaders Week Videos

SRC Exec Team Instagram Takeovers
In Term 3, each of the eight Year 11 SRC Executive members took turns to run the SRC Instagram account for a day. The primary aim is to maintain student connection by sharing the routines, tips and lives of the Year 11 members currently engaging in the home learning environment. We received lots of positive feedback from students throughout this initiative. You are able to check out our routines on the SRC Instagram (@srcfshs).

 

SRC Social Media Wellbeing Campaign
The SRC has also been working hard to produce fun, informative and motivational content for our Instagram account (@srcfshs). The Year 10 members have been busy creating Instagram Posts and Stories containing music/book/film recommendations, exercise routines, cooking recipes and much more, to help students find ways to take a break and relax. I encourage all staff, parents, carers and students to follow our Instagram account to view past and upcoming content.

Year 11 Charity Committee
The SRC was also keen to continue supporting the Year 11 Charity Committee who throughout Term 3 were promoting positive mental health and sharing wellbeing strategies for students. The media team from the Charity Committee has gathered some interesting origami designs to assist students find ways to express their creativity. These designs can be found on their Instagram account (@charityfshs22).

SRC Handover
Congratulations from the SRC Executive team to all 40 SRC members who have done a fantastic job at representing their respective grades over the past year. These school leaders had the opportunity to develop and learn leadership skills including project management, public speaking, as well as involvement in various charity and community fundraising events. These interpersonal skills would be useful in their future careers and working life.

Congratulations once again to the outgoing SRC team!

Year 11 Year 10 Year 9 Year 8 Year 7
Audrey Truong (President) Alyssa Khaw (Junior Publicity Officer) Brian Jiao Aditya Deodhar Aaditiya Venkatraman
Peter Tran (Vice-President) Billie Gill Gordon Yuan Alexa Salmon Abhijay Beer
Daniel Holland (Secretary) Chantelle Hoang Grace Han (Canteen Officer) Claire Bentley Aiden Lee
Frankie Murphy (Secretary) Dennis Yeo (P&C Officer) Johnathan Bonnice (Junior Publicity Officer) Daniel Sun Alisha Ung
Ray Chen (Treasurer) Lucas Liu Kalanie Prabhakar (P&C Officer) David Sun Cloris Wang
Zhanhao Xu (Community Liaison Officer) Natalie Duong Lucie Atkin-Bolton Emma Howes Elisa Wong
Veronica Kwong (Data Analyst) Tom Alexander-Prideaux Oliver Gongorra Joseph McGee Kai Hall
Barisha Tashnin (Publicity Officer) You-Wei Chung (Junior Data Analyst) Savannah Pradhan Sammy Anand Miranda Leighton

 

SRC Takeover
On Friday 17 September, an SRC Election was held to elect the 8 new representatives for each grade. The results of the elections have been sent to all students. The newly elected team will be published in the next SRC Mercurius update. Well done to all students who nominated themselves for the roles. If you missed out on this opportunity, rest assured that there will be plenty of other opportunities in the future for you to develop and showcase your leadership skills.

The next SRC Executive team will be elected from the new Year 10 Members early in Term 4. This team will work closely with the School Executive and SRC Coordinator to lead the SRC in its activities and initiatives with a view to improve student lifestyle and wellbeing. The Year 10 members will be able to nominate themselves for the following SRC Executive roles: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Community Liaison Officer, Data Analyst and Publicity Officer. The results of this Executive election will also be announced in the next SRC Mercurius update.

On behalf of the SRC, I also take this opportunity to thank the School Principal Ms Juliette McMurray, the senior school executive and SRC Coordinator Mr Michael Galvin for all their support and guidance throughout the 2020/21 SRC tenure. The success and positive feedback from all our events and initiatives would not have been possible without your help.

To the readers and the school community, thank you also for supporting our SRC team and our activities. I ask that you continue to support the succeeding team as they begin their tenure.

Do you have any feedback and ideas on any school related issues? As always, we would love to hear from you! Please contact your friendly SRC via email (srcfshs@gmail.com), Instagram or simply let one of our members know.

Hope you all stay safe and well during this very difficult time. All the best!

Kind regards,

Peter Tran
SRC Vice-President
Year 11

Youth Voices COVID-19 Video winners

Youth Voices COVID-19 Video winners

Congratulations to Year 12 students Ilha Jung, Nathan Ngyuen, Andrew Sun and Om Sen who won FIRST PRIZE in the Youth Voices COVID-19 Video Competition Awards

I had the pleasure of attending an Awards Ceremony today for the Youth Voices COVID-19 Video Competition Awards. This competition was put together by the University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Primary Health Care Education and Research Unit from the Western Sydney Local Health District. Judges involved came from the Australian Medical Association NSW and individuals from technology companies and marketing companies among others. The judges expressed how amazing the quality of all the entries were, in particular their use of technology, humour, video editing, singing and dancing. The student entries exceeded their expectations. There were five criteria used to judge the entries – ability to target the audience, accuracy of the message, impact of the message, innovation and creativity, keeping to time and file size.

Congratulations to these talented students and also to Mr O’Neil and Ms Fentoulis for suggesting this competition during the Year 12 wellbeing day.

You can view their winning video here:

https://bit.ly/3G8Y4P8

Juliette Mc Murray

Olympic Visit

Olympic Visit

On the final day of Term 3 Fort Street students in Years 7-10 were privileged to hear from dual Olympian water polo player Lea Yanitsas.
Lea spoke to the students about her experiences at the Olympics as well as her training and life away from water polo. She challenged students to find that ‘flying feeling’ which she described for her, was saving goals on the water polo arena. She also spoke to students about steps that they can take to strive towards their ‘happy place’. Students were given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session and it was fantastic to see the shear number of questions from the student body relating to wellbeing and training.
Ms Ezekiel
Yr 11 Charity Committee Term 3 Report

Yr 11 Charity Committee Term 3 Report

The 11 Charity Committee had a busy and productive term 3.  To view their report please follow this link:

Year 11 Charity Committee Term 3

 

Instrumental Music Program

Instrumental Music Program

Term 4 IMP Plans
IMP Ensembles will continue in Term 4. Once students are back at school, we will be in Level 3+ restrictions, which unfortunately means ensembles cannot happen on site. Given the changes to the school day, and the travel time of students, IMP rehearsals will be prerecorded by IMP conductors, to allow students to access them at a time that suits.

Please check your emails regularly, as changes to policy/restrictions and IMP activities will happen very quickly.

Farewell Ben Waples
Ben Waples has been a member of the IMP family at Fort Street for the past decade, teaching bass and directing the Jazz Ensemble.
Ben leaves us to concentrate on his alter ego Donny Benét. With a new album on the way and international tours recommencing, we wish Ben all the best for continued success in his performing career. The IMP would like to thank Ben for his incredible talent and dedication.
Ben has changed the lives of countless jazz musicians and bass players and will be sorely missed.

IMP AGM

The IMP Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 8 November via Zoom.  More details can be accessed here:

IMP AGM info

Applications for the 2022 Arts Unit weekly instrumental music ensembles are open!

More information can be accessed here:

IMP Arts Unit info for Mercurius

UTS Parent 1-1 Consultations

Personalised 1-1 consultations for parents will be hosted on 23 November and 14 December. This is an opportunity for parents to get their UTS questions answered on topics such as course content, admission requirements, student life, and more. Registrations are now open.