The COVID-19 has definitely got the world’s attention and is also making its impact on our community. In times such as these, the rise in people’s anxieties and emotions can be expected. With this in mind, this announcement is aimed at supporting families and communicating the measures our school is taking to ensure we adhere to the directives of the Department of Education and Training.
DECLARATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY
The declaration by the Victorian Government of a State of Emergency means that the state now has the power to do the following, among other measures:
- enforce a mandatory self-quarantine period for returning travellers.
- enforce a ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people.
MINIMISING YOUR RISK
The Australian Government has recommended several ways of minimising the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. We are implementing the following measures:
- Implement social distancing measures.
- postpone large student and community gatherings or events, or re-arrange so smaller events are held
- encourage good hygiene practices amongst students and staff, including washing hands
- ensure health and hygiene measures are employed across your school or training organisation, including the provision or soap in toilets, change rooms and bathrooms
- display the Reduce your Risk poster around your campus.
Clearly, in line with Commonwealth Government revised travel advice, staff and students should reconsider any planned overseas travel during these coming school holidays.
The mandatory self-quarantine period of 14 days for travellers returning from overseas does have implications for students and staff. In brief, students and staff who travel overseas will not be able to attend school for 14 days when they return.
CAMPS AND EXCURSIONS
All camps and excursions have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
This does not include student and staff travel between campuses of the same school. It also does not include travel by individual staff or small groups of staff to professional development events.
Visitors are still very welcome to come into schools, unless they are speaking to an audience of over 500 people, in which case the guidelines for mass gatherings will be followed.
School Sport Victoria has already postponed a number of school sport events planned for the remainder of Term 1. School Sport Victoria will be reviewing the inter-school sport program over the coming weeks. At this stage we are unable to advise whether postponed events will be re-scheduled.
Additional hand sanitizers and best hygiene posters have been installed around the school
Soap has been provided in all toilets and there is ample available for all staff and students. If parents are concerned about their child’s hygiene they are welcome to send hand sanitiser and soap with their child to school.
The advice of the Chief Health Officer remains at present that our schools should stay open, except in the case of a confirmed case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Whilst there is no definite school closure planned for our school, staff are preparing themselves and students by:
- Reinforcing with students that closure of school is not a holiday – they will be expected to continue with work
- Ensuring our learning management system (D2L) is well documented for each course being delivered
- Planning for effective communication with classes of students virtually via Microsoft Teams. This will enable video conferencing and group chat to deliver course content.
MAKING A REPORT
If the school Principal receives information that causes concern, the Principal has a responsibility to make a report to DHHS if…
- the person is a confirmed case of COVID-19;
- the person is a close contact of a confirmed case* of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
*‘Close contact’ is defined by DHHS as someone who has had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case, or shared a closed space with someone for more than two hours with a confirmed case.
SUPPORT TO FAMILIES
Reach Out Schools – https://schools.au.reachout.com/natural-disasters/dealing-with-bad-world-news
Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)
How to talk to your children about coronavirus – Worried about your child getting coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know – The best way to avoid COVID-19 infection (and infection with any other respiratory virus) is by washing your hands with soap and water, using a tissue or the crook of your elbow to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and by avoiding close contact with others who are unwell.
See link below for headspace’s new factsheet regarding Covid-19 https://headspace.org.au/young-people/how-to-cope-with-stress-related-to-covid-19/