Our school follows the Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer’s advice and requirements in relation to health and safety. The health and safety measures relating to students are outlined below. These health and safety measures are regularly reviewed in line with the changing context of COVID-19 in Victoria. As a result, as Term 1 proceeds, some measures may no longer be required and/or new measures may be introduced.
Unwell Students (including students who have been tested)
- Unwell students must stay home.
- Where students have been tested for COVID-19 they are required to isolate at home and must not attend school until they are both symptom free and have received their results (provided the result is negative).
Managing Unwell Students at School
- Students experiencing compatible symptoms with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss or change of sense of smell or taste, will be isolated in an appropriate space with suitable supervision and collected by a parent/carer as soon as possible. Urgent medical attention will be sought where needed. Unwell students will not be permitted to travel home unsupervised. NOTE: For some people COVID-19 symptoms may also include headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Health care plans, where relevant and required, will be updated to provide additional advice on monitoring and identification of the unwell child in the context of COVID-19.
- If a staff member is unsure whether a student is unwell in the first instance we will contact the parent/carer to discuss any concerns about the health status of the student, and we will take a precautionary approach, requesting the parent/carer to collect their child if concerns remain. A trained staff member may take the temperature of the student, where appropriate, to support decision-making. Gloves will be worn for the purpose of taking a temperature.
- Parent/carers of students experiencing compatible symptoms with COVID-19 will be encouraged to seek the advice of their healthcare professional who can advise on next steps. Students should not return until symptoms resolve.
Students with Underlying Conditions (such as hay fever or asthma)
- If a student has persistent symptoms due to an underlying condition such as hay fever or asthma, the student should still be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms that are different to or worse than their usual symptoms.
- Parents/carers should also consider getting a medical certificate from the child’s treating GP to confirm that it is safe for them to attend school with persistent symptoms that may overlap with some of the symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough or runny nose.
Managing a Suspected or Confirmed Case of COVID-19
The Department has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to manage suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools. In accordance with these procedures:
- We will inform the Department’s Incident Support and Operations Centre if a student (or staff member) tests positive to COVID-19.
- The Department will then notify WorkSafe on our behalf.
- The school will be advised by DHHS if a student at our school has been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
Close contacts are contacted directly by DHHS regarding quarantine and testing; the student should not attend school until they are advised by DHHS that their quarantine has concluded. Students should bring a copy of the clearance message (text, email or letter) they receive from DHHS indicating that their quarantine period has ended when they return to school. Schools will be asked to confirm to DHHS that the student is not attending school during this time. If the student is attending school, we are required to send the student home immediately.
As the requirements for face masks may change at short notice, our school will always follow the advice on the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 website. We are still amidst a global pandemic and wearing a face mask continues to be one of the many strategies to help keep our community safe.
Update from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, from 11.59PM Friday 26 February
- Individuals aged 12 years and over must always carry a face mask – unless they have a lawful exemption.
- Individuals aged 12 years and over must wear a face mask when on public transport, school buses and when in taxis or ride share vehicles – unless they have a lawful exemption. This includes travelling to and from school on public transport or in a vehicle with others not from your household.
- There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face mask, including for staff and students who are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability. This includes students or staff who have a medical condition, such as a breathing problem, a serious skin condition on the face, or a mental health condition.
- Face masks are strongly recommended for use by staff, students and visitors when physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
- A face mask must cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, scarves or bandanas do not meet these requirements.
Teachers and education support staff:
- Face masks are no longer mandatory in schools, early childhood education and care services, and places of private study
- will not be required to wear face masks while teaching, but those who wish to do so, can.
- are strongly recommended to wear face masks if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Face masks are no longer mandatory in schools, early childhood education and care services, and places of private study.
- Individuals aged 12 years and over must carry a face mask, unless they have a lawful reason not to.
- are mandatory for people aged 12 years and older on public transport and when in taxis or ride share vehicles. This includes travelling to and from school on public transport or in a vehicle with others not from your household.
Some students and staff are exempt from these requirements. This includes:
- students who attend specialist schools, who are over the age of 12 and are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability.
- students or staff who have a medical condition, such as problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition.
Face masks and hot weather
It is important to follow the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions on wearing face masks, and there are steps that can be taken to improve comfort during warmer weather:
- Keep hydrated with water.
- Use a single-use mask, or a reusable face mask made from 100 per cent cotton, for increased breathability.
- Wash your reusable mask frequently to maintain effectiveness and bring a spare so you can change your mask if it gets damp or wet.
- Take mask breaks throughout the day, when you’re in settings that do not require them to be worn.
Face masks at external premises
- Staff and students attending camps and excursions will be required to meet any face mask requirements of an external provider/venue, including transport providers, unless a lawful exception applies.
Staff and students unable to wear face masks
- A combination of strategies are required to limit transmission of COVID-19. Where students and staff are unable to wear face masks, other transmission reduction strategies can be enhanced, noting that any additional or enhanced strategies should be aimed at the whole school or class population.
- Staff members unable to wear face masks should avoid providing supervision or care of students with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wherever possible we will encourage and support physical distancing of students however the Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer has acknowledged that physical distancing in schools is practicably difficult to achieve and has not mandated this practice.
- Parents are asked to observe physical distancing requirements (1.5 metres) whenever dropping off or collecting students from school and must not congregate at the 'school gate'.
- Signage will indicate where there are limitations on the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time.
- Density limits do not apply to classrooms and other spaces for the purposes of student use, including corridors and other shared areas.
School arrival and departure arrangements
In line with Department advice, the standard school arrival and departure time will remain in place for all students. Students are to arrive at school by 8:35am and depart from school at 3:05 pm unless otherwise arranged.
However, to continue to support physical distancing at our school we ask students to use the external entry/exit point nearest to their locker.
Staff, contractors and visitors use the Main Entrance to ‘check- in’ using the Compass Kiosk.
Hand, Food and Drink Hygiene
- Hand sanitiser will be available at entry points to classrooms and students will be educated on the importance of this health and safety measure.
- All people on school grounds must undertake regular hand hygiene, particularly on arrival to school, before and after eating, after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the toilet.
- Where shared equipment is necessary, students will be required to exercise strict hand hygiene before and after use.
- School water fountains and taps have been reopened for normal use.
- Students will be encouraged not to share their food. Where sharing of food occurs we will encourage individual portions alongside strict hand hygiene.
- Wherever possible, we will increase fresh air into indoor spaces and maximise the use of outdoor learning areas and environments. This will include setting air conditioning units to use external air rather than recycling and keeping doors open with door stops to keep air circulating.
- Mandatory temperature testing of all students is no longer required.
- The Department and school’s mobile phone policies continue to apply and we ask that students clean their phones regularly.
Health, Wellbeing and Inclusions Workforces at School
- Health and wellbeing staff (such as Student Support Services, Koorie Engagement Support Officers, Visiting Teachers and school nurses) will continue to provide support to students as required.
- Please contact Felicity Marlowe, Student Wellbeing Coordinator, for further information
Record Keeping for Contact Tracing
- To support contact tracing, we are required to keep a record of the name, contact details, date and time of attendance of all staff, students and visitors who attend on-site for more than 15 minutes.
- We are also required to record the areas of the school the person attended.
COVID-19 Safety Management Plan
- Our school follows and implements the Department’s COVID-19 Safety Management Plan, available at: COVID19 Safety Management Plan.