Executive Director’s Update to Principals #123: COVID Update - 19 Nov 2021
God of our earthly tents,
God of our guiding light:
you led your people through a desert and resisted a permanent home.
You knew that a life made together is a life on the move,
on roads we’d rather not choose. Follow me, you said.
Come and see, you said.
Be with me, my people forever.
As we travel along through this
‘land of unlikeness,’
a terrain of unsettling truths, your city of reunion awaits.
May the strangeness we face
and the people who change us assure us we’re on the right path.
~ The Corrymeela Community
Changes to COVIDSafe practices
Changes to quarantine and self-isolation rules
We touched on these changes in yesterday’s Executive Director’s COVID Update #122 (18 November 2021). The Victorian Government website coronavirus.vic.gov has been updated, aligned to the announcements made in the press conference yesterday. This includes the checklists referenced in the media release – checklist for COVID cases and checklist for COVID contacts. This information is being translated into new templates for schools outlining what schools need to know and do and template letters to parents/caregivers. We will share these new templates with you when they become available (ideally by Monday).
Key points from what we currently understand:
- Students who are exposed persons in an education setting (previously referred to as a PCC), will no longer have to quarantine for between 7 to 14 days
- School-based contacts (formerly PCC) can return immediately to school after providing evidence of a negative standard PCR test
- In exceptional circumstances the Department of Health (DH) may determine that close contacts in a significant school outbreak are still required to quarantine for 7 days
- Rapid antigen tests are strongly recommended; however, the program will no longer be administered via DET and the local school
- Staff and students can collect a Rapid Antigen Test kit (containing 5 tests) directly from the testing facility at the time of getting a standard PCR test
- Schools will likely only close for 24 hours, where necessary, to facilitate a usual COVID clean, identification of school-based contacts, and to enable those required to get a standard PCR test
We are mindful of sharing further information until it has been confirmed. If you are currently working through a possible or known exposure, please continue to liaise with your Education Consultant and Ange Jones (COVID Response Coordinator) via email@example.com or 0400 831 040 as required. If you have been working with the Department of Health already, please continue to do so until they advise otherwise.
Vaccination requirements and impact on end of year gatherings and events
Many venues can only open for people (including workers) who are fully vaccinated or excepted. The coronavirus.vic.gov website notes that fully vaccinated means someone who:
- has received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or
- has a valid medical exemption, or
- is under the age of 12 and two months.
We understand that this is concerning and may impact end of year gatherings and events planned by schools for students over the age of 12 years and two months and under the age of 16. We have not been able to confirm a position on this yet. CECV have advised that DET ‘are working through this’. We anticipate this will be covered in the Department’s new School Operations Guide when this becomes available.
Face masks are still required to be worn in some settings. This includes primary schools – face masks are to be worn by all staff, visitors, and students in year 3 and above.
Masks must also be worn on public transport, taxis and ride share services. We understand this extends to school bus services.
COVID Briefing for Principals – Monday 22 November
We anticipate further information by Monday, hopefully including the School Operations Guide. As soon as this information becomes available, we will share it with you.
We will hold a COVID Briefing for Principals on Monday 22 November from 2 to 3pm via this Zoom link.
The meeting will be recorded and made available shortly after. Should you have questions you would like to raise in advance of the meeting, please forward them to Ange Jones. A response to these queries will be included in the COVID Brief where that information is available.
Letter from the Bishop
November 18, 2021
As you may have seen, the Victorian Government has announced new Covid regulations to come into effect from 11.59pm tonight (Thursday 18 November 2021).
The government website has not yet been fully updated. However, a government page gives a summary of key points. Under the heading “Weddings, funerals and worship”, the summary is as follows.
“If everyone present is fully vaccinated, you can host or attend weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies at places of worship with no capacity limits or density limits. (Vaccination requirements will apply from the age of 12 and 2 months, unless a medical exemption applies.)
If vaccination status isn’t being checked, these events are restricted to one person per 4 square metres up to a maximum of 50 people per facility.
The cap at funerals doesn’t include those required to conduct the funeral and the cap at weddings doesn’t include the marrying couple, celebrant or photographer.”
I note in particular that there are no capacity and density limits for gatherings where everyone present is fully vaccinated. I note also the increase in the limit to 50 people where vaccination status is not being checked. For further details, you could go to the government website www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au as it is more fully updated in the coming days.
I renew my thanks to you all for continuing to support one another through these trying times. As we take another step towards being able to gather for worship as a whole community, may the Holy Spirit unite us more and more with Christ and with one another.
God bless you all.
Bishop Paul Bird CSsR
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