Executive Director’s Update to Principals #7: COVID Update - 1 February 2022
- Updated School Operations Guide
- COVID-19 contact management: case contacts with a recent history of COVID-19 infection
- Rapid Antigen Test deliveries
- Reporting of positive cases
- Vaccinations for school staff following a case of COVID-19
- Assistance with questions regarding air purifiers
- Exposure notification templates
- Staff Leave
- Rolling Quarantine Requirements (Household contacts – multiple exposures)
God whose breath hovered over creation,
God whose breath brought wet clay to life:
Be in each grounding breath that we take, The rise of our belly,
The fall of our chest. Be in the kind word we extend,
the offer of help, the note of concern.
Be in the prayer that we whisper, and the laugh that we share,
so that even in a time of chaos, we might breathe into life a new creation.
~ The Corrymeela Community
Updated School Operations Guide
A new version of the School Operations Guide, dated 31 January, is now available on CEVN. On review, there is no significant or material change. The changes made provide additional clarity.
You should review the updated information on:
- Rapid antigen test availability and storage (page 5)
- Contact management summary and example scenarios (pages 8-10)
- COVIDSafe requirements for visitors and volunteers (page 24)
- Non-classroom based activities (page 27)
- Staff meetings and professional development (page 28)
- Interschool activities (page 29)
- Face masks (pages 29)
COVID-19 contact management: case contacts with a recent history of COVID-19 infection
With far more COVID-19 cases prevalent in the community, there will be an increasing number of instances where staff, contractors, and students who have previously had COVID-19 infections are identified as contacts of new COVID-19 cases.
Household or household-like contacts must quarantine for 7 days and are subject to testing on days 1 and 6 (either via rapid antigen or PCR test). Further detail on the requirements for each type of contact is available from coronavirus.vic.gov.au website - Checklist for COVID Contacts.
The Department of Health advises that if you are re-exposed to COVID-19 within 30 days of your positive test result you do not need to quarantine or test again.
The person can attend work, education, and sensitive settings within this 30-day period. Beyond 30-days, usual protocols for quarantine and testing resume.
Staff, contractors, or students whose COVID-19 infections are outside of the 30-day period are not considered exempt from quarantine and/or testing requirements. They must, if determined to be a contact of a positive case, follow the requirements for quarantine and/or testing that are applicable in the circumstances (either as household/household-like contacts, or workplace/educational facility contacts).
Summaries of this information and example scenarios are in the School Operations Guide (pages 8-10).
Rapid Antigen Test deliveries
The present stock of rapid antigen tests is expected to cover schools for the next two weeks. Another delivery of tests is expected between 7-11 February.
Thank you to schools for completing the Google Form to provide Catholic Education Ballarat with details of the number of RAT kits delivered to your school for the first 2 weeks of term. Debbie Stabek, Grant Victor-Gordon, and Simon O’Brien are collating this information and will provide an update to the Department of Education and Training to resolve any shortfall on behalf of those schools.
Reporting of positive cases
Parents and carers can report that students have tested positive for COVID-19 via normal school absentee processes.
While the CECV School Operations Guide notes the VicEd COVID Portal is now working for Catholic Schools, DOBCEL advises all schools to continue to use their local process and channels for notification of an absence.
Schools are required to maintain a local record of all reported confirmed cases of COVID-19. We will continue to follow up on the reporting requirements and provide advice to schools in due course if necessary.
Vaccinations for school staff following a case of COVID-19
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advises that previous COVID-19 infection is not a contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination, that vaccination can occur after a COVID-19 infection and there is no requirement to delay vaccination after recovery from acute illness.
Assistance with questions regarding air purifiers
Should you have technical questions regarding air purifiers not covered by existing information, please contact your Education Consultant and CEB we will follow up.
Exposure notification templates
Exposure notifications should only be sent in response to cases that were onsite in the 48 hours before testing positive. As such, exposure notifications should not be sent before tomorrow, Wednesday 2 February.
Schools have expressed challenges classifying types of leave related to COVID 19. The following simple table may assist with leave classifications.
|Leave type||Availability||Evidence requirements|
|Infectious Diseases Leave||Employees who contracted COVID-19 whilst undertaking duties in the workplace|
Notice of a positive PCR test result text from DHS, or the the confirmation email /text from the DHS following self-reporting of a positive RAT.
|Personal Leave||Employees who contracted COVID-19 or are required to isolate with no connection to the workplace|
|Miscellaneous leave (up to 5 days)||Employees who are required to isolate based on being determined a close contact at school and alternative remote duties not available|
|Carers Leave||Employees who are required to care for immediate family or household member|
Please refer to page 7 of the School Operations Guide. For more information or guidance, please liaise with Maree Baker (HR Manager) phone #
Other leave types are available in accordance with the VCEMEA.
Rolling Quarantine Requirements (Household contacts – multiple exposures)
We have had a few questions as to whether a household contact needs to begin their 7-day quarantine again if another person in the household tests positive during this period – refer to page 9 of the School Operations Guide.
According to advice for contacts on the Victorian Government Coronavirus website, this is not required. Specifically, the advice provides:
If another person in your household tests positive:
- If another person in your household tests positive during your 7-day quarantine period as a household contact (in addition to the initial case) your 7-day period doesn’t start again.
- You can complete the rest of that 7-day quarantine period, and you are cleared from quarantine if you have a negative result from a test taken on Day 6.
- However, if you test positive on Day 6 (or on any day of your 7-day quarantine period) your quarantine period will start again because you are now infectious with the virus. You must isolate for another 7 days following your positive result.
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