Executive Director's Update to Principals #6: COVID Update - 15 Feb 2021
Father, our world is broken and we are more aware of that than ever as a result of this COVID pandemic.
We long for that day when every tear will be wiped away, when death will be no more, and there will be no more grief or pain.
But we know we are not there yet and we pray that you might enable us to live as your light in the midst of this darkness,
testifying to your continued goodness and the hope that has been secured
for all your people through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Temporary School Operations Guide for 15-17 February circuit breaker
A temporary School Operations Guide is now available and pertains only to the current circuit breaker: Monday 15 - Wednesday 17 February, unless the lockdown period is extended.
Further advice will be issued for the School Operations Guide once the lockdown period is lifted. Changes are detailed further down under "School Operations Guide Updates".
COVID Tier 1 Exposure
You may have heard in the media this morning that a group of students from St Aloysius Primary School, Redan inadvertently visited a Tier 1 Exposure Site while on camp last week.
The following updated information has been issued by CEB this afternoon:
While on school camp in Melbourne last Thursday 11 February, year five and six students from a Catholic school in the Ballarat area inadvertently visited a Tier 1 Exposure Site while a person with a confirmed case of COVID was on-site.
The DHHS has advised that all students and staff on the camp have been identified as primary close contacts, so are required to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days since the date of exposure. The Grampians Public Health Unit have been alerted and are ensuring that there is adequate capacity for testing today.
The school is continuing to keep the families of all affected students and staff well-informed in a timely manner. Affected families have been extremely supportive and responsive to advice.
There are no additional public health actions required by the school, but affected students and staff have been asked not to attend until they are cleared by the DHHS.
Prior to the camp, the school undertook rigorous COVID Safe risk mitigation planning inline with the CECV School Operations Guide.
Secondary Close Contacts (Household Members)
We are conscious that family members of students and staff from St Aloysius may attend other schools in the Ballarat region. Below is the latest advice we have received from Grampians Public Health Unit in relation to secondary close contacts (household members):
- If family members (eg. one parent or child) can effectively isolate away from the child or staff member (primary close contact), they will be cleared as a secondary close contact once the child returns a negative result.
- All household members who cannot effectively isolate away from the primary close contact will be deemed a secondary close contact, and will need to quarantine for the full 14 day period with the affected child or staff member.
- Secondary close contacts need to quarantine while waiting for a primary close contact to receive a negative result from the DHHS.
- Secondary close contacts should get tested if they experience any COVID symptoms.
School Operations Guide Updates
The changed sections of the temporary School Operations Guide are highlighted in yellow and are detailed below:
Schools should, to the extent possible, support continuity of learning from home. This can include remote learning programs and/or the provision of learning materials.
Schools should continue to provide on-site supervision for students in the following categories:
- Children whose parents are essential workers as listed, or work for an essential provider, cannot work from home and where no other supervision arrangements can be made.
- Vulnerable children, including children in out-of-home care, children deemed by Child Protection and/or Family Services to be at risk of harm and children identified by the school as vulnerable (including via referral from a family violence agency, homelessness or youth justice service or mental health or other health service).
School camps and excursions
Camps and excursions planned to take place between Saturday 13 February up to and including Wednesday 17 February must be rescheduled.
The exception to this are camps that commenced prior to 11:59pm on 12 February; these can continue but camp activities must be consistent with the restrictions in place for the wider community.
Please see the School Operations Guide for further information.
Ensure your school is prepared to respond to an unwell student/staff member or suspected/confirmed case
Please review the measures you have in place to respond to an unwell student or staff member or a suspected or confirmed case. Detailed information is contained in the Operations Guide and includes:
- checking that your school has adequate supply of personal protective equipment
- ensuring that your school has a suitable isolation space set up in accordance with the guidance on providing a safe space for isolating unwell staff or students, and
- advice on advising your diocesan education office if a student or staff member tests positive to COVID-19.
Next COVID-19 Update
We will continue to send out COVID-19 updates on an as needs basis. Please liaise with your Education Consultant with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and continue to look after each other…