Executive Director’s Update to Principals #80: COVID Update - 14 Sep 2021
God of the seed and God of the branches, you promised that a grain of faith
would be enough to move a mountain,
or better yet, to make a nest for roosting.
May we now see the ripe fruition
of seeds planted long ago
by grand, motherly types
who sang us hymns we still can hum,
who showed us kindness
and quiet strength.
May we then grow in this new season
to plant a mountain-moving seed ourselves, a shelter for tomorrow’s wings.
~ Corrymeela Community
Today’s Victorian Press Conference
The following points of interest for regional Victoria and education were discussed in today’s Victorian Press Conference:
- A further case has been detected in our diocese – a Ballarat construction worker, who travelled to Melbourne for work.
- Deputy Premier James Merlino announced a $22.1 million package of additional mental health support. Watch this section of the press conference for details.
- Minister Merlino spoke at length on the return to schools for Term 4 – below is a summary of pertinent points. Watch this section of the press conference for details.
- Minister Merlino reassured final year students that there is a plan in place to give them confidence about how the remainder of the year will unfold. This includes on-site assessments, GAT and exams; an assurance that they will receive their ATARs before Christmas; and that there will be consideration of education disadvantage taken into account for each individual student.
- In terms of the broader back to school plan beyond the current cohorts currently attending on-site in regional Victoria, the development of the plan is well advanced and takes into account the latest modelling from the Burnet Institute and public health advice to ensure all mitigations are covered. Several measures are being explored, including the possibility of COVID rapid antigen testing subject to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) advice, and C02 monitors and air purifiers for improved circulation.
- When asked when all students will return to on-site learning in regional areas, the Minister refused to speculate, but said the return of all students would be as quickly as possible but will need to be in order of priority cohorts, which is why the initial focus has been on year 12 students and years F-2 students thus far.
- It is unlikely that the back-to-school plan will be announced this week, however schools and families are assured that they will have a clear idea of what Term 4 will look like well in advance of the beginning of term.
- When asked whether vaccinations will become mandatory for education staff, the Minister said that this is being explored for a range of sectors and while there are currently no announcements for the education sector, and he reinforced that all eligible students over 12 years of age and education sector staff are strongly urged to get vaccinated as the fastest path to reach broader vaccination goals.
- The Year 12 vaccination blitz continues to be extremely successful with over 20,000 students, VCE teachers and exam supervisors and assessors vaccinated so far.
Update: Vaccination Champions Program
We have been advised that the email address for the ‘Nominate a Vaccine Champion for your School’ progam published last week was incorrect, and that the correct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. See details of the program below.
Nominate a Vaccine Champion for your School
The Department of Health (DH), with support from the Department of Education and Training and the CECV, have launched a new program designed to build confidence and increase rates of COVID-19 vaccination across our government school communities.
Each school is encouraged to nominate their own Vaccination Champion, who will be offered special communications training, resources, and sessions from the DH. This will enable them to share information, answer questions, and discuss concerns around the COVID-19 vaccination program. By building our network of vaccination champions, each school can support the health of their community and return, as soon as possible, to continuous onsite learning.
Schools are encouraged to nominate early by identifying a trusted member in their school community and supporting them to apply.
Applicants can complete the expressions of interest form and return it to email@example.com.
Thank you for your support of these important initiatives, which will help to keep our students, staff and communities safe.
Next COVID Update
We will continue to monitor the situation and advise principals of any updates. Please liaise with the COVID Support team (see left hand column) or your Education Consultant with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and continue to look after each other…
Deputy Director of Catholic Education (Interim)