The purpose of this page is to outline to parents, carers and students how our school will be managing risk and other operational matters relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) during Term 4, 2020.
Princes Hill Secondary College is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff. We ask for all members of the school community to follow this policy to enable us to provide the safest possible environment during this time. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria.
Princes Hill SC is following the advice for schools from the Department of Education and Training which can be found on the Department’s website at: Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This information applies to everyone in the PHSC community engaging in on-site learning or visiting school grounds. This includes all members of staff (principals, teachers and education support staff), all parents/carers who interact with the school and all students. It also includes visitors to the school. Information specific to staff only and not directly relevant to students and their families is found on the staff wiki space.
Normal attendance notification requirements apply for all students. Please refer to our school Attendance Policy for further information.
Exceptions to attendance may exist for medically vulnerable students. The Acting Deputy Chief Health Officer has advised that decisions regarding school attendance should be informed by the nature of a child or young person’s condition, its severity and intensity of required treatment. In most cases, the presence of common conditions of childhood, such as asthma, epilepsy or Type 1 diabetes, should not preclude a student from attending face-to-face learning.
In keeping with expert public health advice, some students may be at higher risk for severe outcomes or complications of coronavirus (COVID-19), for example those with chronic medical conditions. Any student with a chronic medical condition should seek advice from their medical practitioner about attending school on site at different stages in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Please also contact your child's Year Level Coordinator for further support and advice on how we can support your child in these circumstances.
Our school records student attendance in accordance with the Department’s Attendance Policy.
Term 4 Priorities
We will continue to have in place strong measures to protect the health and safety of students, staff, families and the community. In addition to the health and safety measures outlined in this policy, we will be focused on three key priorities in Term 4:
Mental health and wellbeing
Our highest priority will be the wellbeing, particularly the mental health, of every student and member of staff. This means effectively mobilising all available resources to support our most vulnerable students and enabling staff to access the relevant support services.
Learning and excellence
Some of our students have thrived in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their learning progress, and some have fallen behind, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers. Our priority will be supporting both those who need it to catch up and those who have progressed to continue to extend their learning.
We will make every effort to ensure successful transitions for children moving from kindergarten into Prep, the Grade 6s moving into Year 7, the Year 12s moving into employment or further education and training.
We are pleased to advise that our Year 8 - Year 10 students will join our Year 7 students, VCE and VCAL students to full-time on-site learning the week commencing Monday 26 October. Information on starting dates and times for each year level have been provided to parents via Compass New Feed.
Health and safety at school
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 4 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 coronavirus (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 coronavirus (COVID-19), such as fever, cough, chills or sweats, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss 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.
- Health care plans, where relevant, should be updated to provide additional advice on monitoring and identification of the unwell child in the context of coronavirus (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 coronavirus (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.
Managing a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19
The Department has comprehensive procedures in place with the Department of Health and Human Services to manage suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools. In accordance with these procedures we will we will inform the Department’s Incident Support and Operations Centre who will support the school and contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160 to seek advice if a student or staff member:
- is a confirmed case
- has been in close contact with a confirmed case
DHHS defines ‘close contact’ as someone who has either:
- had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- shared a closed space for more than two hours with someone who is a confirmed case.
PPE is available for staff where required e.g. First Aid response (masks, gloves, sanitiser, wipes, gowns). Particular guidelines apply for management of First Aid generally and where specific coronavirus-like symptoms are evident. Staff will follow specific Department guidelines in these situations such as use of an appropriate isolated space (Conference Room 1 or Conference Room 2) with suitable supervision until collected by a parent/carer.
- All school staff on site will wear face coverings unless exempt due to a medical condition or disability but may remove their face covering when teaching students.
- All students over the age of 12 must wear a face covering unless they are exempt due to a medical condition or disability.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own face mask to school but will be provided with a single-use mask if they forget their own mask, or if they do not bring a mask for any other reason.
- All secondary school students will need to wear a face covering, including when travelling to and from school, unless they are travelling alone in a vehicle or with members of their household.
- Some students and staff are exempt from these requirements. This includes students or staff who have a medical condition - including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition.
- Parents are also required to wear face coverings whenever they leave the house, including for a school drop off and pick up. When travelling in a car alone, or only with members of their household, they do not need to wear a mask.
Wherever possible we will expect, 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.
- Non-contact greetings are encouraged and physical distancing of 1.5 m should be adhered to where practicable.
- Bags replace lockers. You will not have access to your LOCKER. Bags will be required to be placed in the safest area of the room as directed by your teacher. i.e. under a chair or under a table. You need to keep your bag with you throughout the school day. If you are concerned about carrying a bag full of books you might choose to leave the hard copy text book at home and use the eBooks whilst at school, perhaps have a book buddy where you bring books for some subjects and your buddy brings the books for other subjects; this could help lighten the load. A bag with wheels could be of benefit rather than a back pack. Only bring books that you require for each day.
- Teachers can still move around the classroom to assist or supervise you with your work in a similar way to usual if they choose.
- Furniture has been positioned to optimise physical distancing within classrooms. Please do not move the tables and chairs.
- The use of the lift is restricted to a maximum of one adult or two students; unless with the specific permission of the Principal.
- 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 entry/exit points.
Cleaning and facilities management
At our school we will:
- Continue extension of routine environmental cleaning, including progressive cleaning throughout the day to ensure that risks of transmission are reduced for high-touch surfaces, particularly:
- washbasins and taps
- soap dispensers
- hand sanitising units
- all entry and exits points
- door handles and knobs
- shared surfaces including staff chairs and desks
Use of hospital grade disinfectant will be used to undertake the detailed cleaning.
- Carefully consider the necessity of using shared items or equipment e.g.: shared computers, class sets of teaching and learning materials, musical instruments etc at this time.
- We will be practising hand hygiene measures immediately before and after use of shared equipment
Getting to and moving around the school
To support physical distancing at our school we have arranged for the following staggered arrival and departure times and entry/exit points:
- Junior School 9:00 am
- Middle School 8:50 am
- Senior School 8:40 am
Classes held on Level 2 operate 5 minutes ahead of schedule (either side of a recess and lunchtime break) to alleviate congestion in corridors as students are moving in and out of the building.
Students must use the stairwell closest to the timetabled classroom. See Stairwell Allocations below and posters placed around the school for clarification.
- Rooms 101,102,103,104 and 105 Enter and Exit through the Main entrance.
- Room 106 Food Technology - enter and exit via Richardson Street gate.
- Theatre Enter and Exit through western foyer door via atrium
- Music rooms - Room M1 enter and exit through the music entry, M2 enter and exit through the gym foyer door and instrumental music can choose to use either door.
- Rooms 201, 202, 204 Enter and Exit via the Basketball Court Fire Exit (north)
- Rooms 205, 206, 207 and Library Enter and Exit via the Main Staircase
- Rooms 209, 210, 211, 212, 213 Enter and Exit via the Richardson Street Fire Exit (south)
- Room 214 Enter and Exit via the Atrium Staircase
- Rooms 325, 326, 327 Enter and Exit via the Gym Staircase
- Rooms 322, 321 and the senior study hub Enter and Exit via the Atrium Staircase
- Rooms 302, 304, 305 Enter and Exit via the Basketball Court Fire Exit (North)
- Rooms 306, 310, 318, 319, Back Stairs (behind Library)
- Rooms, 312, 313, 314, 315 and 316 Enter and Exit via the Richardson Street Fire Exit (South)
Recess and Lunchtime Arrangements as of 26 October for Princes Park use
- Year 7/8 students to have access to Zone 3
- Year 9/10 students to have access to Zone 1
- Year 11/12 to have access to Zone 2
- All students will need to adhere to public guidelines when in the park i.e. need to be 1.5 metres apart in their social gatherings/circles.
- Students can play non-contact sport.
- Library use
Reducing mixing between student groups from 26 October
Scheduling of classes for Year 11 and 12 classes are prioritised to Level 3.
Infection control measures
Hand, food and drink hygiene
- You are required to sanitise upon entering and exiting a classroom. You are also encouraged to bring your own sanitiser and put in your bag.
- The doors will remain open in most classrooms to maximise air flow and to limit touch points (subject to safety and security considerations).
- The student microwaves will not be available for use.
- Students must not share their food.
- 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.
- You are not to drink directly from the water taps, you are encouraged to bring your own water bottle. All of our bubble taps have been converted so that they can be used to refill water bottles. Taps may be used to refill water bottles and are now known as Water Bottle Filling Stations.
- No chewing gum.
- 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 jambs to keep air circulating. Windows will be opened in the morning, remain open to enhance air flow - subject to weather conditions, and closed at the end of each day.
- Mandatory temperature testing of all students is no longer required. However, we will continue to heed Department and Chief Health Officer advice on this, and temperature checks may be reintroduced if the current levels of community transmission in Victoria increase.
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 email@example.com
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.
Students should practice hand hygiene before and after catching any form of public or school transport.
Physical distancing should be practised by both parents and students at bus stops, interchange locations and train stations.
Cleaning and facilities management
At our school we will continue the extension of routine environmental cleaning, including progressive cleaning throughout the day to ensure that risks of transmission are reduced for high-touch surfaces, particularly:
- washbasins and taps
- soap dispensers
- hand sanitising units
- all entry and exits points
- door handles and knobs
- shared surfaces including staff chairs and desks
Hospital grade disinfectant will be used to undertake the detailed cleaning.
The school will carefully consider the necessity of using shared items or equipment e.g.: shared computers, class sets of teaching and learning materials, musical instruments etc at this time.
We will be practising hand hygiene measures immediately before and after use of shared equipment.
- The Department and school’s mobile phone policies continue to apply
- The smart device use policy has not changed with the exception that your bag has become a locker. Refer to the school Smart Device Use Policy for details.
- All mobile phones must be switched off and placed in your bag. If you are using your mobile phone in class or during school hours you will be required to hand it in at the general office to be collected at the end of the school day.
- Mobile phones are not to be used throughout the school day and this includes during recess and lunchtime.
- If you are concerned about the safety of the phone and it can be left at home, then leave it home.
- An alternative option while lockers are not accessible is to hand it to Mr Avotins in Room 311 to be locked away for the day.
School assemblies will not take place face-to-face but instead will occur via Zoom Webinars when necessary.
Visitors and school tours
Under Department and Victorian Chief Health Officer advice and requirements visitors to school grounds must be limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations (e.g. student health and wellbeing services, cleaning and maintenance workers). This means:
- Parent volunteers must not attend school.
- Parent-teacher information sessions and interviews will be conducted remotely online.
- On-site school tours for prospective students and their families will not be conducted unless an exemption has been granted by the Principal to support essential educational planning and decision-making for students with disability or highly complex needs.
- Parents will be required to to avoid or minimise time in or around the school grounds. Parent meetings are to be organised remotely via zoom or telephone call (other than in exceptional circumstances).
- Visitors to school grounds are limited to those delivering or supporting essential school services and operations (e.g. student health and wellbeing services, specialist curriculum programs, maintenance workers).
- All visitors to the school must comply with physical distancing and face covering requirements and practise good hand hygiene.
Camps and excursions
- Camps and excursions cannot take place. We will inform parents and students if this changes over the course of Term 4.
Sport and recreation
Based on the Department and Chief Medical Officer advice and requirements as at 5 October 2020:
- Playground equipment can be used by students. However students should practise hand hygiene before and after use.
- The basketball court is available for community use and students should practise hand hygiene before and after use.
- Indoor sport is not allowed. Wherever possible students will participate in physical education or recreational play outdoors and must not engage in contact sport. Non-contact sport is allowed.
- Non-contact sport is permitted at recess and lunch time.
Instrumental music classes and food technology
- Choirs, and wood/wind/brass instrument use is not permitted in schools except where required for essential Year 12 assessments. The Music Program Leader will communicate the approach to these lessons for affected students.
- Food preparation can continue with frequent hand hygiene and no sharing of food
Our school canteen is open for Term 4 and will operate with the highest hygiene practices. The Canteen has its own Covid-19 Safe Plan.
- Canteen prefers online payments but cash and card transactions will be accepted.
- Main meals will be ordered and purchased via the online ordering system or at the canteen.
- There are three serving areas for students. These are clearly marked with one entry point and one exit point.
- Junior School Students are to use the external window.
- Middle School Students are to use the cafeteria side where the microwaves used to be.
- Senior students are to use the cafeteria side closest to the basketball court as per the start of term 4.
- All students are to observe the 1.5 metre physical distancing stickers on the floor.
All interschool activities that involve on-site attendance by students from other schools (eg interschool sports, debating) will either take place virtually or will be cancelled.
Communication between parents/carers and our school
Parents and carers are encouraged to contact their child's Year Level Coordinator or Sub school Leader in the first instance to discuss any concerns or areas of need in regards to their child’s learning, health, wellbeing or access to teaching and learning resources.
Further Information and Resources
- DET Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- DET Coronavirus Advice to Schools
- DHHS Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- DET Infectious Diseases Policy
- DET Health Care Needs Policy
- Talking to your child about COVID-19
- Department of Education and Training COVID-19 Advice Line – 1800 338 663
- Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus hotline – 1800 675 398 (24 hours, 7 days a week)