Our world is facing an unprecedented crisis for our time. I continue to receive regular updates from the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria who provide advice to principals based on the expert advice of the government and other experts.
The current advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer is that schools remain open,‘pre-emptive school closures are not likely to be proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time’. This advice is constantly under review and we will update you if it changes.
Parents are making their own choices about the attendance of their children at school. To support families during this time the teachers are making some school work available online or through alternative learning packs on request. I again urge understanding that during this time the teachers are preparing lessons for the students who are present at school while also preparing activities for those at home, this has increased their workload substantially. I have received inquiries about the school’s Chromebooks, our chromebooks are configured to our network and will not work away from the school, to reconfigure this is beyond our capacity at this time. We would also lose the capability to monitor our students online activities.
I have had some questions from concerned parents about how and when there will be contact if there are suspected or confirmed cases at the school. This is the most recent advice to principals I have received:
Responding to confirmed and suspected cases
Schools are encouraged to cooperate with Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) or Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) advice to protect their students and community.
Unless advised by the DHHS or CECV, education settings should not advise their community of any testing being undertaken or reports of suspected cases. Schools should refrain from providing any communication or advice to students/staff/community until advised by the CECV or DHHS.
If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus at our school relevant protocols, as advised by the DHHS, will be followed. The decision to inform the education setting and any members of the community will be made on a case-by-case basis in the interests of public safety, depending on whether there has been close contact by a confirmed case with any person(s) at the education setting.
In the event of a child/student or staff member being a close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus, the DHHS will alert and discuss all necessary actions with the CECV and the school. Schools with children/students/staff who are required to be excluded due to a confirmed case or close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus will receive notification from the DHHS. A close contact is someone who has been identified by health authorities as having at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or sharing a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.
For students who continue to attend school we are taking the following steps to protect their health and safety:
- All whole school gatherings such as assemblies and liturgies have been cancelled until further notice.
- Excursions and sporting activities away from the school have been cancelled until further notice.
- Full soap dispensers will be maintained in all toilets. Hand sanitiser have been ordered for each classroom and office, we are waiting for this order to be filled by our supplier.
- Children are being taught and reminded of proper hygiene.
- Children who are displaying symptoms of illness are being isolated in sickbay and parents being contacted. The staff are not doctors nor medical professionals but will act in the best interest of all and will be overly cautious during this period. Please ensure you have emergency contacts and arrangements in place for these situations. I urge all parents to co-operate in a similar spirit and keep sick children at home.
To date we have cancelled the following events:
Confirmation – Friday 20 March
School Photos – Wednesday 27 March
School Athletics Carnival – Thursday 23 April
Thank you for your co-operation, understanding and support at this time.