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from staff – it is difficult to describe. We knew that we were facing “unprecedented times“, but Blakehurst staff demonstrated tenacity, grit, flexibility and as always, a deep commitment to student learning.

March 25th is a day I will never forget. In her press conference the day before, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian encouraged parents to keep children home. Our school that day was almost empty – I myself felt empty and completely heart-broken. I sat on the quad for what seemed hours that afternoon, silent tears running down my face. Our school, my school, would never be the same. There has been a numbing ache in my heart since that day. The ability to place video messages on Google Classroom did not fulfil the daily interaction and buzz that students create. Walking the corridors since the lockdown has been eerie, on most days we had up to 5 students. The highlight was 1 day where we had 8 students. Having skeletal staff at school was also strange. Although we had systems in place to support staff and students, questions such as, ‘are we doing enough?’ and ‘what else can we do?’, plagued me.

The most difficult aspect of this whirlwind has been keeping up with information provided from the Government, Public Health, DoE and Federation and likewise navigating through the mixed messaging, emails, zoom meetings, live streams and so forth from these

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well-meaning agencies. Although absolutely exhausted, knowing that we are united and that we are all doing our bit to make the best of this pandemic situation has alleviated some of the stress. I am deeply thankful for the support of the entire school community.

As I write this, it is May 11 – Day 1 of our ‘Phase 1: Managed Return to School’ and I can tell you that although schooling, and our school has changed forever, a fraction of the heartache has subsided with the return of Year 12 and Year 7. The energy that our students have brought to school today has been heart-warming and rejuvenating. As our school fills with students, so will all my emptiness.