Executive Director’s Update to Principals #97: COVID Update - 14 Oct 2021
God of every living creature, God of every creeping thing:
a bird came into our garden, and we didn’t know its name.
The common snipe, the internet said. ‘Common,’ which suggests
our grandparents would have known, and their grandparents, too.
When did we forget it’s normal
to see and hear nature on our doorstep, and to appreciate the everyday?
Now that we’ve been stopped by this common threat,
may we never let such knowledge, or such birds, become so rare.
~ The Corrymeela Community
Today’s Victorian Press Conference
In today’s Victorian Press Conference the following education related topics were discussed:
VCE exam announcement
From next week, the following protocols will apply to ensure that all VCE students who have not been confirmed positive can sit their exams on-site:
- Students who are primary close contacts will be able to sit their exams in a dedicated room with a separate entrance, either by themselves or safely distanced from other students who are primary close contacts, depending on the available capacity
- The students will be supervised by staff wearing face shields and health care worker level PPE
- The rooms will be safely ventilated and cleaned between each use
- Each student who is a primary close contact will need to be tested every 48 hours through the first week and on day 13
- Students who are fully vaccinated will need to isolate for 7 days
- Students who are not fully vaccinated will need to isolate for 14 days
- Students in isolation have an exemption to go on-site to sit their exams as per the above conditions
- The process for students who have tested positive for COVID will not be changing, so they won't be able to attend school or sit their exams. These students will receive a derived score for any exam that they miss, and the consideration of educational disadvantage process will apply.
- This announcement is specific to VCE students only and does not apply to students in other year levels
Further education updates
- Clarification on managing a COVID case at school:
- The above VCE announcement is specific to VCE students only and does not apply to students in other year levels
- If there is a positive case in a school, the school will need to close for a minimal period, eg. 24 hours, and work through the required steps with the Department of Health for deep cleaning, identification of primary close contacts, etc
- After this period, most students will be able to return to on-site learning as soon as possible and the impact will be minimised to those primary close contacts within the school, eg. a class or year level
- The roll out of 51,000 air purifiers to schools across Victoria will continue over the coming weeks and months
- The trial of rapid antigen testing in school settings is being worked on with the Department of Health and further details on this will be announced in the coming weeks
Vaccination status of CEB staff visiting schools
Principals are advised that CEB has collected, recorded and retained the COVID vaccination status of all CEB staff, therefore there is no requirement for a CEB staff member to present their COVID vaccination certificate, or for principals to sight vaccination certificates in DOBCEL schools. Due to privacy laws we are unable to share directly with schools health information relating to CEB staff.
An individual can apply for a COVID vaccination exemption through a general practitioner, paediatrician, clinical immunologist, infectious disease physician or public health physician, who needs to declare the exemption due to a medical contraindication or natural immunity. Approved exemptions are recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) site and are processed immediately.
Evidence of a medical exemption will also be recorded on the individual’s Immunisation History Statement, which can be accessed online through myGov or Medicare, or a printed copy can be requested through AIR or the issuing medical practioner.
This Reasons for immunisation medical exemptions document provides further information.
Employees who are not vaccinated or have declined to provide evidence of vaccination
This template letter (Word document) can be utilised for communications with employees who are not vaccinated or have declined to provide evidence of vaccination.
Provision of masks for younger children
The Victorian Government will be providing masks designed for younger children to assist with the requirement that students in Year 3 and upwards are required to wear masks. These will be distributed to primary schools in the next couple of weeks.
Updated mask template letter
This updated version of the recently circulated template letter may be of assistance to schools corresponding with families refusing to wear face masks.
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…