Dear Parents & Carers,
Happy New Year, I hope everyone had a good break and have remained safe. (Lengthy post alert)
As you would no doubt have heard, students return to school next week. Foundations begin on Monday 31 Jan and Years 1 – 6 return on Tuesday Feb 1.
With the omicron variant of COVID-19 having made such an impact over the Christmas/New Year period I understand there will be a high degree of anxiety for the return to school. Since the government announcements last Sunday, the school’s leadership have been working with Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools to implement many COVID Safe measures to mitigate as much risk as we can. These measure have already meant some changes to existing plans.
As we enter the school year, advice has been given to schools for the first four weeks of the year which I will try to summarise here.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RATS)
We are still awaiting delivery of our school’s RATS. Once they have been received information about their distribution will be circulated via Skoolbag.
Each student will receive 2 packs of RATS (10 Rats) which will provide them at least 2 RATS for each of the first four week. This strategy is being termed a surveillance measure and it is hoped that by having 2 RATS a week, possible cases can be identified quickly. Students are encouraged to take a RAT twice a week, the first early in the week (Mon or Tues) and again later in the week (Wed or Thurs). Negative results do not have to be reported. Positive cases must be reported to the school as well as the Department of Health and the positive student does not attend school for 7 days from the time of the positive test. Rapid Antigen Testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged.
Management of Positive Cases
Their are now 2 types of scenarios we are likely to be managing,
- A confirmed case of COVID-19
- A household contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
A Confirmed Case of COVID-19
- Students who report a positive result must isolate for seven days and not attend school during that period.
- Ensure that staff or students refrain from returning to school if they remain symptomatic, unless it is known that their symptoms are caused by an underlying health condition or medication.
- The school community will be notified of positive cases via the Skoolbag app when a student or staff member has (or multiple students or staff members) have returned a positive COVID-19 test result and had attended the school. Increase monitoring for symptoms will be encouraged.
- The school will provide learning packs in the event of a student having to isolate but, at this time, we will not be providing remote learning programs as were delivered last year.
A household contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
Where a student is a household contact of a positive case (that is, they have spent more than four hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation, or care facility) they must inform the school and isolate for seven days and not attend school during that period. No student should be attending the school if there is a positive case in their household.
QR codes and visitors to schools
During the first four weeks of term we are continuing to to take a cautious approach to who visits the school site. We ask that parents/carers continue to co-operate with a requirement to remain off site unless their is a valid reason eg visiting the office, appointment with a teacher, etc.
Any visitor to the school is required to be fully vaccinated and is required to provide evidence of vaccination status. All visitors must use the Services Victoria QR code to enter the school site or a school building. QR codes are provided at all gates and building entrances. Facemasks are required.
We ask that when dropping off or collecting students that parents remain off site and use the following gates.
- Foundation – Gate 3 (Mortimer St)
- Year 1 – Gate 3 (Mortimer St)
- Year 2 – Gate 2 (Greaves St Nth)
- Year 3 – Gate 6 (Stawell St)
- Year 4 – Gate 6 (Stawell St)
- Year 5 – Gate 1 (Greaves St Nth)
- Year 6 – Gate 7 (Stawell St)
Families enter together through the gate of the eldest sibling.
The Working Bee scheduled for Saturday 29 Jan is cancelled. We hope to reschedule to a later date.
3 Way Conversations
Reluctantly we have decided to move the 3 Way Conversations online. Your original booking time will remain but you will need the following links for parents for interviews to be held Monday 31 January, Tuesday 1 February, Wednesday 2 February and Thursday 3 February.
Simply click on the link or copy the link into your browser.
You will then see that you have the option to ‘knock’ and then you wait.
The teacher will let you in once he/she has finished the previous meeting.
Vaccinations are now available for children aged 5 – 12. Parents are encouraged to consider having children vaccinated as another level of prevention. Vaccination for children 5-12 is voluntary.
The school is investigating providing a vaccination clinic onsite to make it easier for parents, more information on this will be shared as it comes to hand
For all school settings:
• Teachers will be required to always wear masks indoors when not actively teaching or communicating with students. Masks are not compulsory for teachers and staff outdoors.
• Students in Grade 3 and above must wear a face mask indoors at school, and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) programs, unless a lawful exception applies. Students must wear face masks even if vaccinated. Students are not required to wear masks outside.
• Those below Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
The school has taken possession of 14 ventilators provided by the Victorian Government. They are deployed around the school in locations where natural ventilation is most difficult. Our first level of ventilation will be to use natural ventilation, open windows and doors and classes will be taken outdoors where possible.
We are expecting a new Shade Sail structure to be erected between the Grade 4 classroom and the Sports Centre during this term.
COVID Safe Measures
Usual COVID safe measures remain
- Hand sanitising
- Physical distancing
- Hi touch cleaning and disinfecting
I hope that this communication assists with returning to school. All students are expected to attend onsite unless they are formally registered as being homeschooled. Parent preference is not an approved reason for students to be absent due to COVID-19.
This pandemic is far from over but by working together, I hope to provide the most COVID Safe environment possible for staff, students, visitors and the school community.
I thank you for your ongoing co-operation and I am looking forward to working with everyone again this year.