Executive Director’s Update to Principals #120: COVID Update - 16 Nov 2021
Lord God, let me not be separated from You today. Help me to choose to do Your will today. May I be of benefit to my family, friends, neighbours, and the entire community.
Dear Lord, May every step I take and every move I make lead me closer to You. Help me to not work by my feelings, but by Your Word. Keep my heart pure and unblemished.
Father, help me to accept all that comes my way today as a lesson and an opportunity rather than an inconvenience. Father, always help me to remember that You are always a gift in my life. Amen.
Rapid antigen testing program
Statewide rollout of rapid antigen testing in schools
From Monday 15 November, the Victorian Government will implement the statewide rollout of a rapid antigen testing program for eligible students impacted by a COVID-19 exposure at school. This program will enable unvaccinated or partially vaccinated primary close contact (PCC) students to safely return to school after seven days, rather than 14 days. All schools that have close contacts as a result of a confirmed case on site on or after, 8 November will be able to take part in the program.
Rapid antigen testing program details
To make rapid antigen testing (RAT) available to students who are eligible PCCs, schools will need to opt in. Schools will nominate this when they return the spreadsheet of potential PCCs to the COVID Response Coordinator, Ange Jones (Assistant Director: People and Development). CEB, on behalf of the school, will liaise with DET to access the program. When nominating your request to opt in the the RAT program, please include the schools address for delivery and the name and phone number of a contact person. The contact person may be the principal or their delegate.
- Schools can choose to opt in to the rapid antigen testing program.
- The rapid antigen testing program is an opt-in program for PCCs as a result of a positive case at the school. It is for PCCs of school exposures only. It is not for household PCCs or community exposures.
- The Department of Education and Training will provide schools that opt in with rapid antigen self-test kits to enable identified PCCs to get tested – there will be no need for schools or families to purchase them independently.
- For families participating in the program, the PCC student must quarantine at home for seven days. On day six of quarantine, the PCC student must get a standard (PCR) test at a local COVID-19 testing site.
- If the test is negative, they must provide the result to the school and collect their rapid antigen kit.
- Students will then be required to return a negative rapid antigen test result each morning they are attending school between days 8 to 14. Tests do not need to be done on non-school days. The test result must be reported to the school using a web-based form, completed prior to arriving at school.
- PCC students are required also, to get a standard (PCR) test at a local COVID-19 testing site on day 13. If the test is negative, results are provided to the school. The student can return to school once the negative result has been received unless otherwise directed by the Department of Health.
- The RAT program is for the purpose of attending the school the student is enrolled at only. Students cannot attend education activities offsite. Students must otherwise stay at home for their period of self-quarantine.
The full program details are available in the rapid antigen testing program instructions (for Schools).
CECV has created several resources to support schools:
- Rapid antigen testing communications pack (Word document), which includes key messages and a template letter for parents and carers
- Rapid antigen testing information sheet for parents/carers, which includes information on how to perform the test
- Rapid antigen testing FAQs, which can be shared with your school community.
Resources for parents/carers can also be found on the Coronavirus Victoria website.
‘Stay at home when unwell and get tested’ protocol
It is important to note that rapid antigen testing does not replace PCR testing for the purpose of diagnosis of COVID-19 in staff and students, regardless of their vaccination status. Staff and students should adhere to current advice in the School Operations Guide and public health advice. Anyone unwell must remain at home and get tested for COVID-19 with a PCR test, even with the mildest of symptoms, regardless of a negative rapid antigen test result.
Thank you for everything you are doing to keep our school communities safe.
Mandatory Vaccination Policy and new contract templates
CECV has updated and published new contract/offer templates that reference the vaccination requirements for working in a school (education facility) in accordance with employer obligations under the Directions.
Catholic Education Ballarat has worked with the MACS team to prepare a DOBCEL Mandatory Vaccination Policy.
The policy will be made available on eSORT and the above CECV template page soon – we will notify you when it has been published.
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…
Assistant Director: People and Development