Safety first for returning students

Nothing builds resilience like adversity, and as our NRL Cowboys House students show their courage in navigating school during COVID-19, a small contingent have taken on the next challenge.

With restrictions lifting for boarding schools, the House has begun welcoming back a number of Year 11 and 12 students and their siblings, with a maximum of 30 to return for the rest of Term 2.

The remaining 70+ secondary school students will continue their online learning journey at home, supported by the House team, their families and communities, and their respective schools.

The new blend of on-campus and distance learning has enabled a small number of House staff to return to work on reduced hours, after the majority were stood down in early April.

General Manager Rochelle Jones saw a different experience for the students’ return to campus this time around.

“The decision to come back was one made by the individual students and their families, within the guidelines from the various government agencies and with support from us and the schools,” she said.

“The students have been happy to be back as they usually are, but some had worries and concerns about catching up at school.”

“Our education team are very experienced and extremely well organised, and we have close connections to the schools to identify any gaps and adapt the individual learning plans accordingly.

“This has helped to reassure our students and put them on the right track to finishing the term strongly.”

Ms Jones said that some students were initially overwhelmed by the House’s COVID-safe requirements, but are adjusting well.

“Our rules around social distancing are very strict but they’re part of our lives now and we’re vigilant in enforcing them,” she said.

“We want to give our students the best support possible for their 2020 academic year while ensuring everyone remains safe.

“Thank you to everyone involved – our students, staff, families, communities, suppliers, volunteers, partners and supporters – in helping us achieve this.”

While staying on campus in Term 2, students now have their own room and travel for school and essential excursions in small, supervised groups.

Many pre-COVID extra-curricular activities may be off limits for now, but students will stay active with a weekly fitness session run on-campus by the RAAF 383 Squadron and kept occupied with House projects, including building a new pizza oven and an art project.

The House education team will continue working with students remaining in community via the online learning platform, using video conferencing and digital communications to stay connected as Term 2 learning and assessment leads into the mid-year holiday break.

NRL Cowboys House will also continue close consultation with the Department of Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) for guidance on best-practice boarding operations, and with schools, families, communities and agencies for the eventual return of all students.



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