St Joseph's Catholic Primary School Wandal Newsletter

18 March 2020

Casting the Net - Weekly Prayer Reflection

Living with Uncertainty

I heard a medical professional say in the last week that one of the greatest challenges with this virus is the uncertainty. We know so little. How long really is the incubation period? Will it come back? This was from someone relatively highly informed. So how about us poor plebs not so medically educated? I must say I have been distressed by some of the things circulated by friends of mine who simply should have known better e.g. ‘The disease dies above 26/27 degrees Celsius.’ Really? The human body is warmer than that and it seems to be living there. These women are university educated. Did they turn their brains off?

Maybe they did. Uncertainty can do that to us. We start clutching at straws and common sense goes out the window. So, let’s start with the basics. Two of the things we do know are: we need good hygiene and we need to look after each other. With good hygiene, we are looking after ourselves and stopping the virus spread. Looking after each other, we are strengthening the emotional bonds that are essential for a good life. I have been impressed by some of the ways, often creative, by which people are helping each other. Just this morning, a local butcher shop has offered home delivery to those who are quarantined. Good for them, and us.

Uncertainty is part of human existence. It can close us down which leads to selfish and wacky behavior or it can open us up to appreciate who and what we have now. We have to go through this period of uncertainty. We are all in this together. Let us pray asking God to enlighten our minds and hearts that we may deeply care for each other so much and so creatively, that these times of social isolation actually led to stronger families and better communities.

Loving God, open my mind and heart to the mystery of this present time. May the uncertainty I feel be an opportunity to come closer to you and to those I love. Give me the wisdom to calmly care for my family, friends and community. I ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear me.

Sr Kym Harris osb

From the Principal

Thank you to everyone in our school community who is ‘soldering on’ and showing patience, flexibility and understanding during these uncertain times. I would like to assure all our school community that we are receiving regular updates from Queensland Health, the state government and the Catholic Education Office and that the health of our staff and students is of the utmost importance. Until directed otherwise, it is business as (almost) usual here at St Joseph’s Wandal and quality teaching and learning remains our priority. There is a flurry of activity behind the scenes to ensure that we taking the necessary precautions and that we have plans in place for a large possibility of scenarios. For our children though, we are attempting to keep things as routine as possible.  Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any concerns or questions, and please be assured that any changes will be communicated to you as soon as possible.

Last week, all of our students had a lesson in hygiene and handwashing techniques thanks to school parents and registered nurses, Mrs Petrie and Mrs Llewellyn. We spoke about the importance of building our immune systems and practiced washing our hands properly.

This week, as a precautionary measure, we have doubled our allocation of cleaning hours. An additional staff member has been employed to take on the  additional hours. We have also reviewed our supply of cleaning products and ensured that we have enough to meet the increased requirement in cleaning. 

Additional hygiene practices are being reinforced in all classrooms including washing hands with soap and water before and after eating. Soap is available for children to use not only in the bathrooms but also at sinks in classrooms. Hand sanitiser is purchased in bulk and is available in every classroom.

You may like to revisit the Director's message to parents and caregivers with reagrds to how Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton is actively planning to manage the implications of this virus for our schools, kindergartens and services.


Handwashing Hygiene!

Precautionery Measures

We have also made some precautionary changes to events planned for the rest of term.

  • Whole school assemblies will cease for the remainder of the term. Classes leading Prayer Assemblies will still do so, in front of a reduced number of students. Please feel free to still come along to our Friday assemblies. Daily messages, prayer and birthday messages are being delivered over our Public Address system, by our Year 6 student leaders each morning at 8.40am.

  • Parent Teacher Interviews will be held via phone. You will still be required to book in your time as normal, via Parent lounge. The teachers will call you at your nominated time. A packet of work samples will be sent home with your children on the day of your Parent Teacher Interview, so that you can  refer to specific work samples and documentation when speaking to the teacher. It is my hope that every family in this school books in for a Parent Teacher Interview. These are invaluable conversations about your child’s academic progress so far this year.

  • Cross Country is cancelled, as per notifications from regional and district sporting authorities. Our students will run a ''fun-run'' during their normal PE times in the last week of term.

Parent Teacher Interviews – BOOK NOW!

Open and ongoing communication involving parents, teachers, students and community members is an integral aspect of the teaching and learning process at St Joseph’s Wandal. Formal Parent Teacher interviews are held at the end of Term 1 and the end of Term 3. Bookings are now open and will close on Wednesday 25 March at 3pm. As explained above, these interviews will be by phone due to the current health precautions in place. You will receive a phone call, from your child's teacher at the time of your booking. 

 Bookings are made through Parent Lounge as detailed below:

 Open link

Choose Parent Portal

Type in your Parent Code in to username (this is the six digit Parent code found on your school fee account) & Password (note – default is set to Parent code). If you have forgotten your password, click on ‘Forgot Password?’. This will be emailed to you. 

Effective hand hygiene is vital!

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, it is important to remember that effective hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against viruses and can help prevent the spread of illness.

Lead by example and encourage your children to:

* wash their hands regularly with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet

* use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap is not available

* cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbow

* dispose of tissues in the bin immediately

* if they’re unwell, stay at home and avoid contact with others such as touching, kissing or hugging. Check out the 20 second routine video for effective handwashing.


St Patrick's Race Day

Saturday’s Race Day proved to be a very enjoyable and successful fundraising event for Catholic primary schools in Rockhampton. My thanks to the members of our staff who assisted throughout the day and very special thanks to the following Year 6 students who greeted patrons as they arrived: Jaya, Ahliah, Willow, Bayden, Matthew and Jake.

Outdoor Playspace

After what has seemed like a long wait, our outdoor Nature Play space is very close to completion. We hope to have our students accessing this area next week. A genuine thank you to Mick McLaughlin from the Catholic Education Office as well as Boyd Hall and the workers from BT Builders. 


Still to be completed is the area outside of Mrs McKenzie’s side Prep doors, which will host some seating and some raised garden beds. This project has been primarily funded by the generosity of our school’s P and F committee, thank you!

For an article on the benefits of nature play, and why we chose some of the elements you can see, you might like to visit:


Catholic Education Awards 2020 – Nominations are now open!

Nominations for the 2020 Spirit of Catholic Education Awards are now open.

Catholic school communities are encouraged to nominate individuals or teams (staff members,

parents/carers or volunteers) who are making an outstanding contribution to the life of a school

community in one of the following areas:

• Showing outstanding integrity in leading a school community or program

• Implementing change that improves teaching and learning and supports greater equity in


• Building Catholic education identity and ethos in ways that support exceptionally life-giving

relationships and build hope in school communities or Catholic education agencies

• Demonstrating excellence in teamwork that supports and builds Catholic education

• Demonstrating outstanding service to others in the school education community and beyond

Aunty Joan Hendriks Reconciliation Award

• Creating positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff and/or

developing improved understanding of Indigenous cultural heritage in Catholic school


The following link can also be accessed for additional information and to complete a nomination form.

Communication and Contact Details

Please ensure that your contact details, including afterhours numbers and mobile numbers are updated here at school. In the case of a critical incident, emergency or other urgent scenario, it is important that we are able to contact all members of our school community quickly and easily. Remember, you can update your contact details via the schoolbag app, parent lounge or otherwise please pop in and see one of the friendly office staff.


No Hat, No Play!

An increasing number of students are arriving for the school day without a school hat.  A reminder that we have a 'no hat, no play' rule here at St Joseph's.  Please ensure your child has a clearly named school hat each and every day.

Cross Country Training - Finished

Thank you to Miss Hinz and our early morning runners! Cross Country training has now finished.

Homework Club

Homework Club  operates every Tuesday afternoon in the Be-Hive,  3.20-4.20pm. Homework Club is available for childen in Years 3-6 and is supervised by senior students from The Cathedral College. Parents (and students) who wish to take advantage of this service will need to book in by contacting the school office by 10am Tuesdays. Students will need to be collected from the Be-Hive promptly at 4:20 pm.

The last week of Homework Club for Term One will be Tuesday 24 March. Homework Club will resume in Term 2. 


School Banking

Notice from CommBank School Banking

The health, safety and wellbeing of our communities and our people is our first priority. Due to the rapidly developing situation with coronavirus, School Banking has been temporarily paused from 20 March 2020 until the start of Term 2. Tomorrow’s banking (19 March 2020) will proceed as normal, however, next week and until advised, please don’t bring your deposit book with your weekly banking into school and we will notify you when banking will recommence. 

A thank you to school parents, Kate Lipke and Tanya Johnson who coordinate our school banking program. These ladies come in every Thursday afternoon to sort and bank our students' savings. Thank you to you both for your work this term.

School Transport Assistance Scheme

The Queensland Non State School Transport Assistance Scheme (NSSTAS) Reference Committee has advised that the revised weekly threshold families pay before the Bus Fare Assistance Program rebate is provided, be set for Semester 2 as follows:

• Standard $30 (up from $25 in Semester 1 2020)

• Concession $25 (up from $20 in Semester 1 2020)

Further information about the Scheme is available on the NSSTAS website.

Have a wonderful week,

Kellie Jenkinson.

From the APRE

Prayer Corner

May our loved patron and father, St Joseph, watch over us and obtain us for the spirit he wishes to see in his children.

 Saint Mary MacKillop 1898

Did You Know?

St Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us.

"The Breastplate," Patrick's poem of faith and trust in God:

"Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."

Year 5 and 6 Students Celebrating the Feast Day of St Joseph

On Thursday 19 March, Year 5 and 6 students will no longer travel by bus to St Joseph's Cathedral.  Instead, we will celebrate the Feast Day of St Joseph from our classroom where we will participate in the Mass via live stream.

Making Jesus Real

In this week's Gospel reading (John 4:5-42) Jesus offered to share the water of life with the Samaritan woman. He offered her eternal life.  We too can receive this gift and the love and goodness that accompanies it.  If we are generous we can share this love and goodness with those around us.

Students reflected on the Gospel message and identified the importance of being a giver.  One of the easiest ways to be a giver is by asking, how can I help?

Prayer Celebration - Year 3

Please join Year Three who will lead prayer on Friday 20 March at 8.35am.  During prayer, Year 3 will pay special homage in their prayer to St Joseph. 

National Day of Action Against Bullying

The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is an important day in our school calendar to join with other schools across Australia to say ‘Bullying. No Way!’ We’re joining the nationwide movement with schools across Australia to Take Action Together against bullying on Friday 20 March 2020. At our school, students will be reminded of our Mission Statement which forms our school expectations of expected behaviours.  If we focus on our four school expectations - serve God, seek justice, accept responsibility and strive for excellence then we are actively choosing ‘Against Bullying’ every day at St Joseph’s Wandal.  Students will participate in various activities throughout the day to raise awareness and provide opportunities for student voice when talking about bullying on the National Day of Action.

Let’s support our students to drive powerful messages and take action to prevent bullying.

National Action Against Bullying - Prep News

This week Prep students read a series of Allen the Alien books.  After listening to the stories the children discussed how to be a good friend and participated in an interactive writing activity to share their thoughts.

Reminder - Free Dress Fundraiser for Lent

A reminder that on April 3 we will have a free dress day to raise awareness and funds for Caritas Australia's Lenten campaign.  Students are asked to donate a gold coin.

So far we have raised $520 through the generous donations from Shrove Tuesday pancakes and breakfast club after Cross Country training.  Thank you to our school families and students for their generosity.

Harmony Week

Harmony Week celebrates Australia's cultural diversity. It is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.  Please join Prep in the Hall on Monday 23 March at 8.35 am as they lead prayer in recognition of Harmony Day.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

A reminder that Children’s Liturgy is held most Sundays at St Joseph’s Cathedral at 9.30am during the school term. It is wonderful to see our students attend. All students (particularly those preparing for sacraments) are encouraged to attend. Thank you to our dedicated teachers who assist with this important ministry. 

Year 6 Easter Raffle

The Year 6 students are holding an Easter Egg raffle, as part of their fundraising efforts towards their camp which will be held later in the year. Tickets will be sent home with students and are $1 each. The raffle will be drawn on the 3rd April.

Have a great week,

Rheanna Starr.

From the APC

Word Study

Our teachers shared in some professional learning last Thursday afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  This learning was in line with our whole school goal for literacy.  This will mean that how we teach spelling and word study may be 'tweaked' - we will keep you informed and I look forward to sharing information with you through videos and parent information sessions.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher conferences will be held in the last week of this term.  Bookings for these interviews can be made via Parent Lounge and will be open until 25 March 3pm. These will be conducted via phone and a sample of your child's work will be sent home before the interview dates.  We understand this this is not what you are used to - neither are the teachers!

I strongly urge every family to book an interview. Research shows that strong parent engagement and regular communication with your school impacts positively on your child’s experience of learning and academic progression.


Parents are reminded to complete the Flipgrid permission forms on the skoolbag app.  This is a great platform that allows the students to share short videos.

Parent Lounge Instructions



Have a wonderful week of learning!


2020 School Calendar

Our school calendar can be found on Parent Lounge link.  Your Parent Lounge code is your parent code (found on your school fees statement) and the default password is the same 6 digit number. 

Email Troubles

We are receiving reports of some parents and school community members using Microsoft email services (including,,, are receiving bounce error messages when replying to or sending emails to Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton recipients (email addresses ending in


We have escalated this issue with support teams at Microsoft, and hope that these issues will be rectified as soon as possible. You may also want to check any junk or spam settings in your email client for anything that may be preventing sending emails. You may also try creating a “New” email message rather than replying as that has been seen to bypass the Microsoft error.”


Congratulations to our Student Award Achievements!  Please click on link for all the details.

Rockhampton District Sports Calendar CANCELLED

Please be advised that all Rockhampton District  and Representative Sports have been cancelled.

Community Announcements and Events