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Post-COVID-19 shutdown, we’re feeling a cautious sense of confidence here in the Great Southern region. We live and work in WA, land of the hard border, after all. How long that feeling will last is anyone’s guess, but, either way, what are we choosing to take forward with us, and what are we leaving behind?

‘None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.’
Paulo Coelho

During the Term Two shutdown of Great Southern Grammar in Albany, Western Australia, there was an almost shiny sense of newness to everything. Shiny, because with newness comes an element of excitement. Excitement, because our IT department had pulled out all stops and developed an incredible online learning system second to none, using Teams. But the shininess had a flipside, and that felt a lot like dread and worry and anxiety as we navigated turbulent waters we hadn’t travailed before.

The disquiet of the Twitterati was heard loud and clear, including the concern that the ‘learning from home’ load of our children plus our own workloads fell disproportionately on the shoulders of women. We agreed, and felt it. There was the concern that the NBN would not cope with the demands. We agreed, and felt it. And there was the ‘not knowing’ when we might or might not be back on campus. We felt it. There was plenty of feeling going on during lockdown here in Term Two that will probably resonate with you, now. Feeling different, feeling scared, feeling unsure, feeling sad, worried and anxious. Many of you are still feeling those things, and more, and I’m feeling for you and hoping for the best for you.

There is a very real sense that we dodged a bullet, to put it crudely, here in the deep south of WA. That’s not to say that we didn’t work hard to ‘pivot’ as those in the know are quaintly calling our capacity to face upheaval and make it work for our community. And that’s not to say that the virus won’t return. It may well.

But we worked like we’ve never worked before in Term Two in WA. Hats off to families, students, IT, teachers, support staff, boarding, executive, my team (Community Relations) and the whole community that makes a school work. We talked and communicated and empathised and corresponded and connected and shared like our lives depended on it. Because they did.

As a co-ed, day and residential Pre-K to Year Twelve country school, we talked to whoever we thought helpful to talk to about our approach to COVID-19. We educated, we explained, we revealed, we instructed and we directed in a cross-platform approach that had at its heart the need to communicate with consistency and clarity. That is our motto and our strategy: communicate with consistency and clarity.

So we did.

And what we gained in followers, in gratitude and in comprehension through this approach, we tried to give back. Because there’s no point talking unless you’re listening, too.

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About Claire Hanson Director Community Relations, Great Southern Grammar, Albany, Western Australia

Claire is the Director of Community Relations at Great Southern Grammar for the last 7+ years. She also runs Monocle, a boutique communications agency located in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, directed by Claire Hanson.

Monocle offers professional services across the following platforms:

  • Publicity + Public Relations
  • Branding + Communications
  • Strategic Partnerships + Events
  • Content + Digital
    Specialties: Digital Marketing, Communications and Public Relations

We thank our Strategic Partners