Executive Director’s Update to Principals #81: COVID Update - 15 Sep 2021
God of pan-demos, God of all-people, how odd that it takes a global disease to show us that we are all one:
one species, one family
one genomic form,
one people dependent on you.
There are some among us
acutely at risk
to an invisible, indiscriminate foe.
We join in prayer for them and us,
that in our shared vulnerability
you would cure us of this sickness.
And the other one,
the one that divides us,
so that in healing we might become whole.
~ Corrymeela Community
Household members of COVID contacts
As you may have seen in the media late yesterday, further positive COVID cases and exposure sites have been reported in Ballarat. As a result, we have received a number of enquiries from principals seeking clarity on the impact for household members of COVID contacts.
If you have attended a Tier 1 site, you must get tested and isolate for 14 days.
- It is recommended that household members of primary contacts also get tested and isolate until both they and the primary contact receive a negative result and have been granted clearance from the Department of Health.
This What to do if you are a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 page on the Coronavirus website provides an extensive Q&A, a selection of which is below. We encourage you to pass this information onto families should they ever require it.
What is a close contact?
A close contact is someone who has been identified by Department of Health contract tracers as having spent time with someone who has COVID-19. There is a high chance that people who have been close to someone with COVID-19 will get the virus and spread it to other people. The best way to protect yourself, your family and the community is to stay at home and stay away from other people as much as possible.
There are two types of close contacts:
Primary close contacts:
- someone who has had face-to-face contact or spent time in a closed space with someone who has COVID-19 while they were infectious.
- someone who has been in an outbreak or other setting where there is a higher risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Secondary close contacts:
- someone who has had face-to-face contact with a primary close contact at least 24 hours after them being exposed to COVID-19.
The Victorian Chief Health Officer or Deputy Chief Health Officer may also identify someone as a primary or secondary close contact based on what is known about a particular case or outbreak.
Close contact with someone can happen in many ways, such as:
- living in the same household or similar setting (for example, a boarding school or hostel)
- being indoors together, including in a car, lift or public transport
- being at a at a similar time
- direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a person with COVID-19.
If a person is identified as a close contact, the Department of Health will notify them as soon as possible.
Who should quarantine (stay at home)?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested and wait (isolate) at home. After your test you must go home or to your accommodation immediately without stopping anywhere else. For further information, refer to: .
You should quarantine at home if:
- you may have spent time or live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- you may have spent time or live with someone who may have been exposed to the virus at work, school or somewhere else
- you may have been exposed to the virus at work, school or somewhere else
- you have been directed by the Department of Health to quarantine
- you have been identified as having to quarantine by authorised officers because you have visited an interstate high-risk location.
Selected Q&As from the What to do if you’re a household contact of a close contact section –
I live in the same house as a primary close contact? Am I a secondary close contact?
If you live in the same house as a primary close contact, you are a secondary close contact.
What are the testing requirements for secondary close contacts?
As a secondary close contact, you are not required to be tested for COVID-19 unless you develop symptoms.
Do I have to isolate?
Yes, if you have a primary close contact living in your household, you must stay in quarantine until they are told that they can leave quarantine.
I am a secondary close contact, do I have to stay away from other members of my household who are also secondary close contacts?
Secondary close contacts do not have to separate from each other within the same household. The primary close contact should limit their contact with other members of their household.
Can visitors come to my house?
You cannot have visitors to your home if a person in your household has been identified as a primary close contact.
Can I leave the house?
You can only leave the house for the following reasons:
- for medical reasons (to get medical care or supplies, or get tested for COVID-19)
- in an emergency or if you are unsafe
- as specified by the Chief Health Officer or delegate.
Can I go to work?
You cannot go to work, school, higher education, shopping, or to any public places or events, even if they are outdoors.
If you are worried about losing income while you quarantine, you may be able to get a $1500 support payment. For more information, call the Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 (press 0 for an interpreter).
Can my children go to school?
If the children live in the same household as a primary close contact, they cannot go to school, shopping or to any public places or events, even if they are outdoors.
Selected Q&As from the Leaving quarantine and getting tested section –
I have symptoms and am waiting for a test result – how do I know when I can stop quarantining?
If the Victorian Department of Health has told you to quarantine (stay at home), even if you get a negative test result, you cannot finish your quarantine until you have been told it is safe to do so by the Victorian Department of Health. If you are unwell, you should also stay home until you are better.
I am a primary close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 – how do I know when I can stop quarantining?
The Victorian Department of Health will tell you when you can leave quarantine.
You will need to get tested on Day 13 of your quarantine period and receive a negative test result to finish quarantine at 11:59pm on your Day 14.
If you have a test at Day 13 and it returns negative, your quarantine period will end once you have completed 14 days and you have been cleared by the Department.
The Department of Health will send you either an email or SMS confirming the end of your quarantine period. The team cannot release you from quarantine before midnight on Day 14. Please wait for contact and call if you have not been contacted by the Department either by phone or SMS or email by Day 15.
If you do not wish to be tested, then your quarantine period will be extended a further 14 days, making your quarantine period 28 days.
If you subsequently get tested during the extended quarantine period and receive a negative result – you will be able to leave quarantine without having to complete the full number of additional days in quarantine.
If you agree to be tested and your test is positive, you become a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and you will be required to isolate. The Department of Health will regularly check on you and your symptoms and . Refer to: for more information.
I am a secondary close contact – how do I know when I can stop quarantining?
The Department of Health will assess whether and when you can be cleared, depending on the circumstances. This will likely be shorter than 14 days, including if your primary close contact gets a negative test result. The Department of Health will tell you when you can leave quarantine.
School COVID Response Resources
A reminder that a collection of resources has been developed to provide COVID response advice for schools to refer to in the case of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID. The following areas are covered:
- Responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID
- Managing/supporting quarantine and isolation
- PPE guidance
- Reactive school closure process and checklist
- Deep/infectious cleaning procedures and guidelines
- Communicating with school communities and the media
- Employee relations and entitlements
- Additional COVID resources
Note that the above household member close contact information has been added to the document.
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…